What is it about?

On 17 March 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued secret warrants of arrest for President Putin and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, Ms. Lvova- Belova, for the commission of the war crime of forcible transfer of children. This article argues that there are “reasonable grounds to believe”, as the ICC Statute requires for the arrest warrant stage, that both Putin and Lvova-Belova bear individual criminal responsibility for the forcible transfer of Ukrainian children as a crime of genocide; however, two types of considerations – general and particular – prevented the issuing of arrest warrants for genocide crimes and will probably not provide for an opportunity to press charges of genocide against Putin and Lvova-Belova for the commission of the crime of genocide.

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Why is it important?

Despite the significant number of cases of children being transferred and removed from their families that have taken place since the Genocide Convention was adopted, the provision has been dormant and considered anachronistic and was rarely applied by an international or a local court. It is time to awaken the dormant provision, as there is strong evidence that this crime has taken place during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. However, it also seems that political and practical considerations will not make an indictment on this ground feasible. It is nevertheless important to point to the evidence that should have facilitated such an indictment.


As a genocide scholar, I find it important to warn against current crimes of genocide and to elaborate on how they could be prevented or addressed after the fact by the international community. The forcible transfer of children in Ukraine is such a topical case study, in which legal intervention is required. The article sheds light on the advantages and drawbacks of such legal intervention.

Dr. Hilly Moodrick-Even Khen
Ariel University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Forcible Transfer of Children from Ukraine as Genocide, The International Journal of Children s Rights, March 2024, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15718182-32010004.
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