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International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants for Shoigu and Gerasimov

International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants for Shoigu and Gerasimov Photo: Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov (Getty Images)

The Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for the former Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Valery Gerasimov, according to the ICC press service.

The warrants are related to the war in Ukraine for alleged international crimes committed between October 10, 2022, and March 9, 2023.

"There are reasonable grounds to believe they bear individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes," the statement reads.

The Pre-Trial Chamber recognized that there are reasonable grounds to believe that both suspects are responsible for missile strikes carried out by the Russian Armed Forces on Ukrainian electric infrastructure. During this period, a large number of strikes were inflicted by the Russian occupiers on numerous power plants and substations in various locations across Ukraine.

"Considering that the key factual allegations are duly supported by evidence and other relevant material submitted at this stage of the proceedings by the Prosecution, the Chamber considered that the statutory requirements are met to issue the sought warrants of arrest," the statement reads.

Ukraine's reaction

Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets stated that justice for Ukraine is becoming more real.

"This is a significant decision for us! Sooner or later, just punishment will catch up with every war criminal! Only through joint efforts can we speed this up," he said.

The head of the President's Office, Andriy Yermak, stated that Shoigu and Gerasimov bear individual responsibility for crimes in Ukraine.

"An important decision. Everyone will be held accountable for their evil deeds," he said.

Additionally, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin responded to the ICC warrant for the arrest of Shoigu and Gerasimov.

"This is a new significant step towards full accountability for the aggressor. I greatly welcome the independent work of the ICC, which upholds the foundations of the rules-based world order. I am deeply grateful to all the prosecutors and investigators of the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Police, and to all those whose diligent efforts have contributed to this result," he said.

ICC and the Rome Statute

The Rome Statute is an international treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ICC is a permanent international court that has jurisdiction over the four most serious crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

As of June 25, 2024:

  • 137 countries have signed the Rome Statute.
  • 123 countries have ratified the Rome Statute.

ICC warrants against Russia

In March last year, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Additionally, a warrant was issued for Maria Lvova-Belova, the Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights in Russia.