International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin

An arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin has been issued by the International Criminal Court. The court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, accuses the dictator of war crimes in Ukraine, according to BBC, "including the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia."

"There are reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes," according to the court, via NBC News.

The ICC also issued an arrest for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Russia's so-called Commissioner for Children's Rights.

From CBS News:

The ICC said that its pre-trial chamber found there were "reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears 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."

Over the course of the last year, the prosecution — as well as the Ukrainian prosecutor's office — has been gathering evidence from a multitude of country and individual sources. CBS News' Pamela Falk reported earlier this week that ICC prosecutor Karim Khan was preparing to seek arrest warrants for individuals involved in the alleged abduction of Ukrainian children and targeting of civilian infrastructure.

Earlier this month, Khan visited Ukraine for a fourth time. "I leave Ukraine with a sense that the momentum towards justice is accelerating," he said in a statement.

An indictment of Putin would make the president of Russia an international fugitive, CBS News' David Martin reported.

"He is inevitably now trapped in Russia. He will never be able to travel internationally, because it would be too great a risk that he would be captured and brought before a court of law," said U.S. Ambassador-at-large Beth Van Schaack.

However, Putin, like Donald Trump, will most likely escape an arrest for his "alleged" crimes — as long as he stays out of countries within the ICC's jurisdiction.

From BBC:

Despite the warrant on Mr Putin and Ms Lvova-Belova, the ICC has no powers to arrest suspects, and can only exercise jurisdiction within countries who are signed up to the agreement that set up the court.

Russia is not a signatory to that agreement – so it is unlikely either will be extradited.

But Ambassador Van Schaack has a more optimistic outlook: "Putin and will enjoy some impunity while they stay within Russia, but what we have seen is perpetrators don't stay within their home states. They want to go shopping in Europe or go on vacation somewhere, and they get identified, and then the law enforcement is activated. And we are never more integrated than we are now."