The Forcible Transfer of Children from Ukraine as Genocide Awakening the Dormant Prohibition of the Genocide Convention

Hilly Moodrick-Even Khen

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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. In Section 2, after a short historical-legal review of the formulation of Article 2(e) of the Genocide Convention (gc), the article notes that despite the significant number of cases of children being transferred and removed from their families that have taken place since the gc was adopted, the provision has been dormant and considered anachronistic and was rarely applied by an international or a local court. Section 3 proceeds with a legal analysis of the elements of the crime of the forced transfer of children and the genocidal special intent. Section 4 parses the case study of the forcible transfer of children from Ukraine as a crime of genocide. Section 5 analyses the litigation of the crime of genocide in the icc through the only case of genocide the court has addressed so far: the arrest warrant for Sudan's former president, Omar al-Bashir. Section 6 concludes with a forecast that despite the sufficient legal basis for issuing arrest warrants for Putin and Lvova-Belova, practical and political considerations would impede the icc from doing so.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-118
Number of pages41
JournalInternational Journal of Children's Rights
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Hilly Moodrick-Even Khen.


  • International Criminal Court
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • cultural genocide
  • forced assimilation
  • forcible transfer
  • genocide


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