The forced deportation of children from the temporarily occupied regions of Ukraine to Russia is a war crime that fully justifies the ICC issuing an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference following the first day of the EU summit.
"Deporting children is a war crime. We know today of 16,200 children have been deported. Only 300 have returned so far. These criminal actions completely justify the arrest warrants issued by the ICC," said Ursula von der Leyen.
I will highlight 4 topics, 4 challenges we have to address as a Union:— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) March 23, 2023
→ Speeding up to climate neutrality
→ Supporting Ukraine
→ Strengthening our competitiveness
→ Managing migration #EUCO https://t.co/vjyzmyOfcO
According to her, the European Commission, together with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and in partnership with Ukrainians, has launched an initiative aimed at bringing home the children abducted by Russia.
“We are at the very beginning of very hard work. We aim to pull together international pressure to take all possible measures to establish the whereabouts of these children. And we aim to assist UN bodies and the relevant international organisations in obtaining better and more complete information on the children who were deported to Russia. This includes also the children who were later adopted or transferred to Russian foster families,” the European Commission President said.
On 17 March, the Pre-Trial Division of the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Children's Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova.
They are accused of the illegal deportation of children and the illegal transfer of children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the territory of the Russian Federation.