ICC Issues Arrest Warrants For Russia’s Ex-Defense Minister Shoigu, Top General Gerasimov


(RFE/RL) — The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for former Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the Russian military’s chief of staff, General Valery Gerasimov, for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine after the start of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of its neighbor in 2022.

Shoigu and Gerasimov “are each allegedly responsible for the war crime of directing attacks at civilian objects…and the war crime of causing excessive incidental harm to civilians or damage to civilian objects…and the crime against humanity of inhumane acts,” the ICC said in a statement issued on June 25.

It said the ICC’s pretrial chamber composed of Presiding Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala, Judge Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godinez, and Judge Haykel Ben Mahfoudh considered that Shoigu and Gerasimov are responsible for Russian missile strikes conducted between October 2022 and at least March 9, 2023, against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

The statement said that “the expected incidental civilian harm and damage would have been clearly excessive to the anticipated military advantage” for those who ordered the strikes.

Shoigu was dismissed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May. He now heads Putin’s Security Council.

Kyiv immediately hailed the ICC’s announcement.

“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,” Zelenskiy said on X, formerly Twitter.

“Shoigu and Gerasimov bear individual responsibility. This is an important decision. Everyone will be held accountable for evil,” Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, wrote earlier on X.

The ICC in March last year issued arrest warrants for Putin and his children’s commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, for being responsible for the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia — a war crime under international legislation.


Ukrainian Prosecutor Says Russian Troops Beheaded Ukrainian Soldier

The Hague-based ICC does not have the means to enforce its arrest warrants, but relies instead on the judiciaries of its 124 members to fulfill them.

Separately, in a case brought by Kyiv, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on June 25 that Russia had committed multiple human rights violations in Crimea since it occupied the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014.

Russia was guilty of violations of the right to life, failing to prohibit inhuman or degrading treatment, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression among other violations, the court said in its ruling.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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