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ICC issues arrest warrants for Russia army chief, ex-minister

ICC issues arrest warrants for Russia army chief, ex-minister
June 25, 2024 Web Desk

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AFP) - The International Criminal Court said Tuesday it had issued arrest warrants for Russia's chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, and former defence minister Sergei Shoigu.

Warrants were issued for the alleged war crimes of directing attacks at civilian objects and causing excessive incidental harm to civilians, as well as the crime against humanity of "inhumane acts" in Ukraine, the ICC said in a statement.

ICC judges said there were "reasonable grounds to believe that the two suspects bear responsibility for missile strikes carried out by the Russian armed forces against the Ukrainian electric infrastructure from at least 10 October 2022 until at least 9 March 2023."

The court said these strikes were "directed against civilian objects" and even when targets could be considered military, civilian damage "would have been clearly excessive to the anticipated military advantage."

The court issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin in March last year, a ruling that Moscow called "void". Russia levelled its own warrant against the ICC's president in response.

The ICC, based in The Hague, does not have its own police force for enforcing the arrest warrants. It relies on the justice system of its 124 members to carry them out.

In theory, anyone under a warrant is prevented from travelling to an ICC member state for fear of arrest.

Putin has travelled abroad, notably to Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- not ICC members.

However, he did skip a meeting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in South Africa, which would have been expected to carry out the warrant.