Monday, July 22, 2024

Russia: The International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants for Shoigu and Gerasimov on charges of war crimes



Former Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov are the latest Russian officials to face arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court.


The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him Former Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov on charges of international crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The court said on Tuesday that the two men were responsible for two war crimes: directing attacks on civilian targets and causing excessive incidental harm to civilians or damage to civilian objects. They are also accused of crimes against humanity.

The Russian Security Council, the government body currently headed by Shoigu, described the ICC’s decision as “null and void,” Russian news agency TASS reported.

“It makes no sense, because the jurisdiction of the ICC does not extend to Russia, and [the decision] TASS quoted the authority as saying: “This was done within the framework of the hybrid war that the West is waging against our country.”

Ukrainian officials welcomed the announcement on Tuesday. President Volodymyr Zelensky said the decision shows that “no military rank or cabinet door can protect Russian criminals from accountability.” Dmytro Lobinets, the country’s human rights ombudsman, said the ICC’s decision means Ukraine is one step closer to achieving justice.

“Sooner or later, every war criminal will receive just punishment!” He said in a statement posted on his Telegram page.

Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential office, said Shoigu and Gerasimov bear “individual responsibility.”

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“This is an important decision. Everyone will be held accountable for evil,” he said in a statement.

The arrest warrants placed Shoigu and Gerasimov on the International Criminal Court’s most wanted list, although it is uncertain whether they will ever be tried.

The court Trials in absentia are not conducted Moscow is unlikely to extradite them.

The two arrest warrants bring the total number of senior Russian officials wanted for war crimes to four, as the International Criminal Court previously did. Arrest warrants were issued For the president Russian President Vladimir Putin And the Russian official Maria Lvova Belova Because of an alleged plan to deport Ukrainian children to Russia.

The ICC is located in The Hague, Netherlands, was established under a treaty called the Rome Statute, and operates independently. Most countries – 124 of them – are parties to the treaty, but there are notable exceptions, including the United States, Russia and Ukraine.

Under the Rome Statute, any signatory state is obligated to arrest and extradite anyone facing an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court.

Shoigu, a longtime close ally of Putin, was the country’s defense minister for 12 years. Launched by Putin Last month, he was replaced by economist Andrei Belousov.

He led a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, which caught Kiev by surprise but was quickly repelled, exposing the weaknesses of Moscow’s corruption-riddled military. However, Shoigu remained a very popular politician in Russia. After spending two decades as Minister of Emergency Situations, he has succeeded in painting the image of an official who provides help when it is needed.

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Gerasimov, on the other hand, has been at the head of the Russian armed forces for more than a decade. He was one of a small group of people responsible for planning a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. He was officially appointed to the position Commander-in-Chief of the campaign In January 2023.

The ICC said the alleged crimes relate to “a large number of strikes against numerous electrical power plants and substations” carried out by Russia across Ukraine between at least October 2022 and March 2023.

The three-judge panel that made the decision to issue the arrest warrants concluded on Monday that Shoigu and Gerasimov ordered strikes on civilian targets, which constitutes a war crime under international humanitarian law.

The judges also said that although some of the targets could have been considered relevant to the Russian military campaign at the time, it was clear that hitting them would cause harm to civilians and that the expected harm would be excessive compared to the military advantage of hitting them.

The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, said in a separate statement on Tuesday that the Russian campaign at the time represented “a course of conduct that included the commission of multiple acts against the civilian population.” He said that Shoigu and Gerasimov’s actions in this manner may amount to a crime against humanity.

This classification is intended for the most serious crimes committed as part of a widespread, systematic attack directed against the civilian population.