ICC issues arrest warrants for former Russian defence chief Shoigu and top general Gerasimov — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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ICC issues arrest warrants for former Russian defence chief Shoigu and top general Gerasimov

Photo: EPA-EFE/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL

Photo: EPA-EFE/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for former Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov for “alleged international crimes” on Tuesday.

According to the court order, there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that Shoigu and Gerasimov bear criminal responsibility for “a large number of strikes against numerous electric power plants and sub-stations” by the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine between 10 October 2022 and 9 March 2023.

The ICC asserted that the strikes were carried out against a “civilian population,” qualifying them as “crimes against humanity or other inhumane acts” according to the 1998 Rome Statute, which established the ICC.

Russia’s Security Council said on Tuesday that the ICC warrant was “part of the West’s hybrid war against Russia”, branding it “worthless”, state news agency TASS reported.

In March 2023, the ICC issued arrest warrants for both Vladimir Putin and his Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Levova-Belova for their alleged involvement in the unlawful deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia. The court’s decision came after reports that Putin and Lvova-Belova directed the Russian authorities to remove children from occupied territories in Ukraine and assign them Russian citizenship.

Shoigu served as Russia’s Defence Minister from 2012 until May 2024, when he was removed from his post and replaced by former economic development minister Andrey Belousov. Shoigu now serves as secretary of Russia’s Security Council, a consultative body composed of top state officials and heads of security agencies.

Gerasimov, who was appointed to head the Russian Armed Forces by Putin in 2012, is the commander of the Russian “military operation” in Ukraine. Despite being a target of criticism for the Russian army’s failings in Ukraine alongside Shoigu, Gerasimov has remained in his post.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated in March 2023 that decisions of the ICC were “irrelevant” from a legal point of view, due to Russia not being part of the Rome Statute.

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