The arrest warrant issued for Russian President Vladimir Putin is a "very important signal" for the world and the victims of the alleged scheme to forcibly deport thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia, the president of the International Criminal Court said Friday.
A warrant was also issued for Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova.
The arrest warrants are not "magic wands," Judge Piotr Hofmański said, speaking to CNN from The Hague in the Netherlands. "But we believe in the deterrence effect of the arrest warrants issued in our proceedings, and we believe that it's a very important signal for the world that we are doing our job, that the victims are not left alone, they are not forgotten, and we just are doing what's expected."
Hofmanski compared the arrest warrant for Putin to a kind of sanction for the Russian leader.
"There are 123 states — two-thirds of states of the world — in which he will not be safe," he said.
Asked whether the ICC is asking signatory countries to arrest Putin if he travels to them, Hofmanski referred to ICC statute, saying, “All state parties have the legal obligation to cooperate fully with the court, which means that they’re obliged to execute arrest warrants issued by the court."
He also said that these warrants are not "the end of the game," adding that the case "can expand and also cover other atrocities allegedly committed on the territory of Ukraine." Hofmanski said he has no knowledge of any other actions coming down the pike.
Hofmanski said the contents of the arrest warrants were secret but that the ICC had agreed to publish the information about the existence of the warrants and the crimes allegedly committed by Putin and Lvova-Belova.
Remember: The ICC does not conduct trials in absentia, so Putin would either have to be handed over by Russia or arrested outside of Russia.
CNN's Jorge Engels contributed to this post.