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International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Shoigu, Gerasimov. Kremlin responds

26 June, 2024 Wednesday
15:19

On Tuesday, June 25, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for former Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the US State Department, and Russia reponded to the decision

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The International Criminal Court's website reported the information. 

The arrest warrants were issued by the Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court, consisting of Presiding Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala, Judge Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godínez and Judge Haykel Ben Mahfoudh. 

“Pre-Trial Chamber II considered that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the two suspects bear responsibility for missile strikes carried out by the Russian armed forces against the Ukrainian electric infrastructure from at least 10 October 2022 until at least 9 March 2023. During this time-frame, a large number of strikes against numerous electric power plants and sub-stations were carried out by the Russian armed forces in multiple locations in Ukraine,” the statement said.

The Court found that there were sufficient grounds to believe that the alleged attacks were directed against civilian objects, and for those objects that could be qualified as military objectives, the expected incidental harm and damage to the civilian population was excessive compared to the expected military advantage.

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Russian commanders on the basis of motions filed by the prosecution.

Zelenskyy's reaction

Commenting on the arrest warrant for Shoigu and Gerasimov, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the International Criminal Court's decision "a clear indication that justice for Russian crimes against Ukrainians is inevitable."

He reminded that Shoigu and Gerasimov are suspected of committing heinous crimes against civilians in Ukraine during the bombing of critical infrastructure.

"We look forward to more arrest warrants in order to deprive Russia of its sense of impunity. The feeling that has fueled Russian crimes for decades. Accountability is the only way to put a stop to them," the president wrote.

US' response

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that the United States supports the decision of the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for Shoigu and Gerasimov on suspicion of their involvement in war crimes, Ukrinform reports.

He emphasized that they had clearly stated Russian troops committed atrocities during the illegal invasion of Ukraine and that those responsible must be held accountable.

Miller emphasized that the United States supports a number of international investigations into Russian crimes in Ukraine, "including the ICC investigation.”

According to a State Department spokesperson, the US side exchanges information with the ICC, but did not disclose the content of the communication, citing the confidentiality of communications.

Russia's response

Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the ICC's decisions, calling them "absurd, just like the previous two warrants" that concerned Putin and Russian Children's Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova.

"We do not recognize the jurisdiction of this court, we are not members of the relevant statute. Accordingly, we do not recognize these warrants," Peskov added.

  • On March 5, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian Long-Range Aviation Commander Sergei Kobylash and Black Sea Fleet Commander Viktor Sokolov. 
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