The International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrants against the Russian President and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation

on 17/03/2023, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for children’s rights of the Office of the president of the Russian Federation, for their responsibility for committing war crimes in Ukraine.

Legal jurisdiction

Defines the territorial jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, the Court shall have international legal personality. It shall also have such legal capacity as may be necessary for the exercise of its functions and the fulfilment of its purposes, in accordance with Article 4 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the legal status and powers of the court.

Paragraph 2 stated that: The Court may exercise its functions and powers, as provided in this Statute, on the territory of any State Party and, by special agreement, on the territory of any other State.

The jurisdiction of ratione materiae is defined on the basis of the text of Article 5 (The crime of genocide, Crimes against humanity, War crimes and The crime of aggression), and on the basis of the text of Article 14, Referral of a situation by a State Party with respect to a crime referred to in accordance with the provisions of this statute in the following cases: Paragraph 1: A State Party may refer to the Prosecutor a situation in which one or more crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court appear to have been committed requesting the Prosecutor to investigate the situation for the purpose of determining whether one or more specific persons should be charged with the commission of such crimes.

The Jurisdiction ratione temporis is determined on the basis of the text of Article 11: The Court has jurisdiction only with respect to crimes committed after the entry into force of this Statute. If a State becomes a Party to this Statute after its entry into force, the Court may exercise its jurisdiction only with respect to crimes committed after the entry into force of this Statute for that State.

Legal application

The state of Ukraine lodged a case against the state of Russia on February 26, 2022 after the start of the Russian special military operation, as the state of Ukraine has ratified the Rome Statute, which makes the ICC territorial jurisdiction over crimes committed on the territory of the state of Ukraine. The state of Ukraine filed an application instituting proceedings against the state of Russia for the crimes it has committed, namely war crimes and crimes against humanity, which makes this within the jurisdiction of ratione materiae of the court. All the crimes that the state of Ukraine claimed to have been committed by the state of Russia came after Ukraine ratified the Rome Statute, which makes it within the Jurisdiction ratione temporis of the International Criminal Court.

All of the above makes the case legally admissible, and the prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Court began investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine on March 2.

On March 11, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court “Karim Khan” announced that the ICC’s investigation team had begun collecting evidence as part of the investigation.

Criminal responsibility

 The decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court was based on the existence of reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of illegal deportation of the population and the crime of illegal transfer of the population from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, to the detriment of Ukrainian children, based on Articles:

Article 8 “War crimes” Paragraph 2. For the purpose of this Statute, “war crimes” means: (a) Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention: Article 7- Paragraph 1- (d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population.

(b) Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict, within the established framework of international law, namely, any of the following acts: The transfer by the occupying power, directly or indirectly, of parts of its civilian population to the territory it occupies, or the removal or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory inside or outside this territory.

The court was based on holding of individual criminal responsibility for the above crimes for committing the acts directly in accordance with the text of Article 25 “Individual criminal responsibility” Paragraph 3 In accordance with this Statute, a person shall be criminally responsible and liable for punishment for a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court if that person: (a) Commits such a crime, whether as an individual, jointly with another or through another person, regardless of whether that other person is criminally responsible. And according to the text of Article 28 “Responsibility of commanders and other superiors” due to the failure of the president to properly exercise control over his civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed them to be committed, and who were under his actual authority and control, in accordance with the responsibility of the president.