Arrest Warrant Issued Against V. Putin: FIDH Urges States to Cooperate with the ICC

Press release
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Paris - March 17, 2023. FIDH welcomes the issuance of arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Lvova-Belova. Both are accused of involvement in deportations and illegal transfers of Ukrainian children to the Russian Federation, acts that constitute war crimes.

"The fact that authoritarian leaders consider themselves untouchable leads to aggressive wars that cause suffering to millions of people. However, history has shown that authoritarian regimes fall and their leaders are brought to justice. ”

Oleksandra Matviichuk, FIDH Vice President and Head of the Center for Civil Liberties (CCL), an FIDH member organisation.

This is the first time since its creation that the ICC has issued an arrest warrant for the President of a permanent member state of the UN Security Council. Vladimir Putin is identified as both the direct perpetrator and as the immediate superior responsible for the offense, and Maria Lvova-Belova is designated as the direct perpetrator.

"The issuance of these arrest warrants marks a significant milestone for international justice and the fight against impunity. It is now evident that Heads of States cannot use immunity as a shield for themselves.”

Mazen Darwish, Secretary General of FIDH and Executive Director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), a member organisation of FIDH.

This decision comes over a year after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces, on February 24, 2022, and only a few days following the release of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine report, which classifies the deportations and transfers of Ukrainian children to Russian territory as “war crimes”.

In its press release, the ICC states that there are "reasonable grounds to believe" that Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova are guilty of illegal deportations and transfers of people, and in particular children, from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

In addition to these deportations and illegal transfers of children, over 35,000 crimes (summary executions, acts of torture, ill-treatment, rape and sexual violence) committed by the military of the Russian Federation have been documented by the CCL and the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) - another FIDH member organisation in Ukraine.

As a reminder, on March 2, 2022, ICC Prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan KC had announced the launch of an investigation in Ukraine, following requests from a record number of 43 states. FIDH now urges all States to cooperate with the ICC in the implementation of these arrest warrants.

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