Thursday, March 23, 2023
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has expressed concern over "threats" from Russia following its issuing of a war crimes arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin.
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ICC on the issuance of arrest warrants against President Vladimir Putin and Ms Maria Lvova-Belova: Incidents identified by my Office include the deportation of at least hundreds of children taken from orphanages and children's care homes. Many of these children, we allege, have since been given for adoption in the Russian Federation. The law was changed in the Russian Federation, through Presidential decrees issued by President Putin, to expedite the conferral of Russian citizenship, making it easier for them to be adopted by Russian families. My Office alleges that these acts, amongst others, demonstrate an intention to permanently remove these children from their own country. At the time of these deportations, the Ukrainian children were protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. We also underlined in our application that most acts in this pattern of deportations were carried out in the context of the acts of aggression committed by Russian military forces against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine which began in 2014. In September last year, I addressed the United Nations Security Council and emphasised that the investigation of alleged illegal deportation of children from Ukraine was a priority for my Office. The human impact of these crimes was also made clear during my most recent visit to Ukraine. While there, I visited one of the care homes from which children were allegedly taken, close to the current frontlines of the conflict. The accounts of those who had cared for these children, and their fears as to what had become of them, underlined the urgent need for action. We must ensure that those responsible for alleged crimes are held accountable and that children are returned to their families and communities. As I stated at the time, we cannot allow children to be treated as if they are the spoils of war.
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