Next After Vladimir Putin: Arrest Warrants for Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov

Next After Vladimir Putin: Arrest Warrants for Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for former Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

The International Criminal Court announced Tuesday, June 25, that it had issued arrest warrants the day before for Russia’s former defense minister and the chief of its military staff for attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine. The ICC charged Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov with crimes against humanity and war crimes – directing attacks on civilian targets and causing excessive harm to civilians or damaging civilian targets.

The statement stressed that the order was issued because there is reasonable cause to believe that the men are responsible for “missile attacks conducted by the Russian Armed Forces on Ukrainian electrical infrastructure” from October 10, 2022, until at least March 9, 2023. However, it noted that “during this period, the Russian Armed Forces carried out a large number of attacks on numerous power plants and substations in multiple locations across Ukraine.”

Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure

Russia fired 84 missiles and 24 kamikaze drones at Ukraine on October 10, 2022. It was the first day in a long series of devastating attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure throughout the fall and winter. Russia has repeatedly claimed that Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is a legitimate military target and has denied attacks on civilians or civilian infrastructure. There is no immediate likelihood of any suspects being apprehended.

Russia has not been a member of the International Criminal Court since 2016. It withdrew after criticism over its illegal annexation of Crimea. Moscow also does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction and refuses to extradite suspects. In 2023, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian official Maria Lvova-Belova, accusing them of personal responsibility for the abduction of children from Ukraine.

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