Putin Was Declared A War Criminal For *Relocating* The Same Number Of Children Israel Just *Killed*

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readNov 24, 2023


Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

It’s probably worth noting at this point in history that the total number of children killed in Gaza has just surpassed the number of children the International Criminal Court indicted Russian president Vladimir Putin for relocating out of a war zone.

A recent estimate by Gaza authorities puts the number of Palestinian children killed by Israel’s bombing campaign over the last seven weeks at just above the six thousand mark. This number comes from the Gaza Media Office, which is only able to make unconfirmed estimates since the Gaza Health Ministry who normally reports such numbers has lost the ability to count the dead effectively due to communications collapse caused by the bombing.

In March of this year — ironically on the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq — ICC judges issued an arrest warrant charging Putin with war crimes in Ukraine. The allegations? The “unlawful deportation” of some six thousand Ukrainian children to a network of “re-education” camps inside Russia.

As The Grayzone documented at the time, the ICC charges were based on a Yale HRL report which is rife with contradictions, plot holes, and the fairly significant conflict of interest of being funded by the US State Department. The report itself acknowledges that it found “no documentation of child mistreatment,” and that nearly all of the children were returned to their families in a timely manner.

But even if these points were all false and Vladimir Putin did just illegally kidnap six thousand Ukrainian kids to turn them into Russians, would that be worse than murdering them by dropping powerful military explosives on areas known to be packed full of children? Why is one a war crime and the other apparently fine? Russia is no more a party to the ICC’s Rome Statute than Israel is, after all.

A recent United Nations report says that “Since 7 October, when Hamas fighters attacked Israel, 67 per cent of the more than 14,000 people killed in Gaza are estimated to be women and children.” If we assume it’s an even 14,000 and make the obscenely generous assumption that every single one of the men killed by Israel were Hamas combatants, 67 percent puts the total number of civilians killed at 9,380 in just seven weeks of bombing.

In the 21 months of the war in Ukraine, the UN estimates the number of civilians killed at around ten thousand. The total number of children killed? Around 560.

The numbers show that Israel is plainly behaving in a way that is far, far more murderous and criminal in Gaza than Russia is in Ukraine, but we good and faithful members of the international community are meant to desire only the Russian leader’s prosecution at The Hague.

Really “international law” does not exist in any meaningful way, which is why powerful governments always just ignore it while the people who are actually detained by the ICC are always from weaker nations (overwhelmingly African). Perhaps nothing better exemplifies this dynamic than the the US government’s American Service-Members’ Protection Act, better known as the Hague Invasion Act. This 2002 law authorizes the use of military force to liberate any US or US-allied military personnel from any ICC attempt to prosecute them for war crimes. “US-allied” would ostensibly include Israeli forces.

In truth our world is ruled by tyrants who do whatever they want to do, and their actions are justified by the mass media who function as propagandists for the US-centralized power structure. Pundits weep and rend their garments over Russian crimes while defending, minimizing and obfuscating the far greater crimes of Israel, because Israel is a part of that globe-spanning power structure while Russia is not.

I have never been particularly interested in defending the Russian government. What I am interested in is opposing the murderousness of the globe-spanning power structure I live under, and all the lies, double standards and hypocrisy used to keep the murders going.


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