ICC issues arrest warrants for Russian army chief, former defence minister

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ICC Issues Arrest Warrants for Russia’s Ex-Defence Minister and Military Chief Over Ukraine Strikes

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for Russia’s former Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and its military chief General Valery Gerasimov, accusing them of war crimes for attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine.

The Hague-based court announced on Tuesday that the warrants were issued based on judges’ findings of reasonable grounds to believe that Shoigu and Gerasimov were responsible for “missile strikes carried out by the Russian armed forces against the Ukrainian electric infrastructure” between October 10, 2022, and March 9, 2023.

The ICC accused the former defence minister and the general of war crimes and crimes against humanity for inhumane acts. “During this time-frame, a large number of strikes against numerous electric power plants and substations were carried out by the Russian armed forces in multiple locations in Ukraine,” the court statement said.

Judges concluded that there were reasonable grounds to believe that these strikes targeted civilian objects and that any potential military advantage was outweighed by the incidental civilian harm and damage.

Russia has consistently claimed that Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is a legitimate military target and denies targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure.

In a related development last year, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine. In March, the court issued arrest warrants for two other high-ranking Russian military officers for attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

Reporting from Amsterdam, Al Jazeera’s Step Vassen noted that the court’s announcement was unexpected, with no prior indication that these arrest warrants were forthcoming. “This means all the countries they [Shoigu and Gerasimov] will travel to that signed the Rome Statute will have to arrest them and bring them to The Hague,” she explained, adding that the officials would likely avoid these countries.

Russia is not a member of the ICC, does not recognize its jurisdiction, and refuses to hand over suspects. Following a cabinet shake-up in May, Putin replaced Shoigu as defence minister and appointed him as secretary of Russia’s Security Council.

On Tuesday, the Security Council stated that the ICC’s arrest warrant for Shoigu was part of a hybrid war against Moscow, according to the state-run news agency TASS.

By Naija247news
By Naija247newshttps://www.naija247news.com/
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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