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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
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International Criminal Court issues warrants for more Russian officials

Tuesday’s warrants bring the total requested by the Hague-based court for top Russian officials to six. 

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CN) — The International Criminal Court on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for Russia’s former minister of defense and the current chief of staff of the armed forces for destroying civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. 

Judges at The Hague-based court say there are “reasonable grounds to believe” ex-defense minister Sergei Shoigu and General Valery Gerasimov have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by targeting Ukrainian electricity infrastructure.

“The alleged strikes were directed against civilian objects, and for those installations that may have qualified as military objectives at the relevant time, the expected incidental civilian harm and damage would have been clearly excessive to the anticipated military advantage,” said the three-judge panel.

Blackouts have become a frequent occurrence in Ukraine, as Moscow has increasingly attacked power stations and oil depots.

Earlier in the day, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi the chief of Ukraine’s electricity operator Ukrenergo, announced that the country has lost nine gigawatts of generating capacity in the latest series of Russian strikes. Pre-invasion, Ukraine used to generate 55 gigawatts daily. 

Ukraine welcomed the move.

“Every criminal involved in the planning and execution of these strikes must know that justice will be served. And we do hope to see them behind bars,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a statement. 

Earlier in the month, Zelenskyy appealed for help to some 2,000 people gathered for the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin. “Ukraine is suffering from the most destructive form of the Russian view of energy as a weapon,” Zelensky said.

“Today’s decision reflects my office’s continued commitment to give meaningful effect to the protection that the law provides to civilians and protected objects,” ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement. 

Shoigu was the country’s defense minister for 12 years before being replaced last month. He now serves as the secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

Tuesday’s warrants are the sixth issued by the court against Russian officials. Last year, judges approved warrants for the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, and his commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, for abducting Ukrainian children with the aim of raising them as Russian. 

In March, the court issued two other warrants for attacks on the electricity grid.

Lieutenant General Sergei Kobylash and Admiral Viktor Sokolov are also accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity for attacks against civilian objects.

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