The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes because of his alleged involvement in abductions of children from Ukraine, reports the Associated Press. The court Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.” It also issued a warrant Friday for the arrest of Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, on similar allegations.
The court’s president, Piotr Hofmanski, said in a video statement that while the ICC’s judges have issued the warrants, it will be up to the international community to enforce them. The court has no police force of its own to enforce warrants. "The ICC is doing its part of work as a court of law,” he said. “The judges issued arrest warrants. The execution depends on international cooperation.” A possible trial of any Russians at the ICC remains a long way off, as Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction— a position reaffirmed on Friday by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view,” she said. Ukrainian officials were jubilant. “The world changed,” said presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the “wheels of Justice are turning,” and added that “international criminals will be held accountable for stealing children and other international crimes.”