Ukraine War Crimes: ICC issues arrest warrants against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Official Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova

Ukraine War Crimes

International Criminal Court (ICC): In a major development1 vis-à-vis ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, the Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court took a massive decision to issue warrants of arrest for Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova regarding war crimes committed in Ukraine.

The war crimes that have been alleged against the Russian President and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, who is the Commissioner for Children's Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation are as follows-

  • Unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (under Articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute). The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian occupied territory at least from 24-02-2022.

  • For having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others (Article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute).

  • Failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission, and who were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility (Article 28(b) of the Rome Statute). 

  • Individual criminal responsibility for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova for the crimes and for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others (Article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute).

Background- Russian invasion of Ukraine circa 2022 and International Criminal Court's involvement

Russo-Ukraine issue has its origin in the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 19912, and has kept the European continent and the world anxious for many years with numerous conflicts. However, relationship between the two nations took turn for worst when Russia invaded Ukraine on 24-02-20223.

Russia's aggression in Ukraine resulted in a major humanitarian crisis with large scale displacement of Ukrainian public.

Russia's 2022 invasion over Ukraine also gave rise to massive protests in many parts of the world and the International Criminal Court was extensively urged to investigate serious allegations of war crimes being committed on Ukrainian civilians4.

Issuance of Arrest Warrants

On 17-03-2023, a year after the Russian invasion, the ICC issued arrest warrants pursuant to the applications submitted by the Prosecution on 22 February 2023.

As per the press release issued by the ICC, it was stated that the Pre-Trial Chamber II had reasonable grounds to believe that “Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes”.

It was stated that there are reasonable grounds to believe that both President Putin and Lvova-Belova bear responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children.

The Chamber considered that the warrants are secret in order to protect victims and witnesses and to safeguard the investigation.

Observing that conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes, the Chamber deemed it fit to authorise the Registry to publicly disclose the existence of the warrants, the name of the suspects, the crimes for which the warrants are issued, and the modes of liability as established by the Chamber.

1. Situation in Ukraine: ICC judges issue arrest warrants against Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova | International Criminal Court (

2. Revisiting Ukraine's Nuclear Past Will Not Help Secure Its Future – Lawfare (

3. (42) Ukraine says it was attacked through Russian, Belarus and Crimea borders (

4. ICC launches war crimes investigation over Russian invasion of Ukraine | Russia | The Guardian

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One comment

  • This move was expected since Russia had implemented its invasion policy for financial and geographical advantages. History is long back to 2014 when they first Annexed Crimea, war in eastern Ukraine, Minsk 2 agreement and many incidents like this in history.

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