ICC issues arrest warrants for Russia’s top military officials

A pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Russia’s former Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and current chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, the court announced in a statement on its website.

“Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court <…> issued warrants of arrest for two individuals, Mr Sergey Kuzhugetovich Shoigu and Mr Valery Vasilyevich Gerasimov, in the context of the situation in Ukraine for alleged international crimes committed from at least 10 October 2022 until at least 9 March 2023,” the statement read.

According to the court, Shoigu and Gerasimov are “allegedly responsible” for directing attacks at objects in Ukraine.

Last year, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova on charges of alleged unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children.

Putin stated Russian officials acted absolutely within the law when they removed children from the conflict area to save their lives and health, and never opposed their reunification with their families. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the court “failed to live up to expectations and did not become a truly independent body of international justice”.

Responding to the warrants, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stressed at the time that the documents had “no meaning for Russia”.

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