Kelly Rutherford appeared on Good Morning America on Friday

By Michele Corriston
Updated August 14, 2015 10:30 AM
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ABC Latest News | Latest News VideosKelly Rutherford says she believes her children’s voices “have not been heard” after a New York judge sent them back to Monaco this week.

“I walked into a courtroom where everything felt like it was already done. It was a done deal,” Rutherford told Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts on Friday morning. “His mother was sitting there with plane tickets, smiling, ready to take them.”

Son Hermes, 8, and daughter Helena, 6, left for the airport with their paternal grandmother Tuesday straight from the courtroom. Initially, Rutherford did not fully comply with the judge’s order by arriving at the hearing alone, saying she wanted to protect the children from media exposure.

“I’m glad they didn’t have any notice, in a way I think it would’ve been harder,” the Gossip Girl star said of their goodbye. “I was happy that it ended up happening because they didn’t have to sit in the courtroom and watch it all happen or deal with media or anything that would have been sort of harmful.”

Rutherford and ex-husband Daniel Giersch, 41, have been caught up in a bitter custody battle since she filed for divorce in 2008. A California judge ordered the children to live with their dad in Monaco temporarily in 2012 because his visa had been revoked, and they spend summers with their mom.

The latest legal hurdle happened after Rutherford refused to return the kids to father Daniel Giersch in Monaco last week, prompting him to accuse her of child abduction.

“Basically nothing has changed. The court order in California that was then entered in Monaco remains consistent, the children primarily reside with Mr. Giersch in Monaco,” Ira Garr, an attorney for Giersch, told reporters Tuesday. “Ms. Rutherford is free to visit anytime she wants and she has certain specified times under the agreement, but she had indicated at one point that she would like to come at the end of the summer so they can take the children to school together. He has been perfectly accommodating to whatever request she has made. He just wanted to make sure the children were coming back as they were supposed to.”

But Rutherford says of the kidnapping allegation, “I was accused of things I was not able to even defend.”

Her attorney Wendy Murphy emphasized that Hermes and Helena’s relocation abroad was intended to be temporary.

“He violated his agreement. He violated an American court order, and the saddest part of this story is no American court seems to give a damn,” she said on GMA.

There’s a hearing in Monaco scheduled for Sept. 3, and Rutherford is still trying to raise politicans’ awareness of the issue after testifying before Congress twice.

“This is happening to so many people … there needs to be some law put into place,” she said. “I shouldn’t be having to fight this in a foreign court.”

On Friday, Rutherford also posted an old photo of daughter Helena with horses.

“It’s really amazing that American citizens like her children are literally caught in the loopholes and flaws of our system,” legal crisis manager Wendy Feldman, who has worked with Rutherford, tells PEOPLE. “Kelly has taken action and formed an advocacy group and is educating people – the one role I am sure she would have loved to have turned down.”

With reporting by K.C. BAKER