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ICC issues arrest warrants for Russian war leaders for attacks on civilian targets

THE International Criminal Court (ICC) said yesterday that it had issued arrest warrants for a Russian former defence minister and military chief of staff over attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine.

This is the third time that the ICC, sometimes known as the World Court, has issued warrants for senior Russian leaders.

Former defence minister Sergei Shoigu and ex-chief of staff General Valery Gerasimov are accused of committing war crimes and the crime against humanity of inhumane acts.

Judges who approved the prosecutors’ request for arrest warrants said that the suspects were charged with inhumane acts because evidence exists that they “intentionally caused great suffering or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health” of civilians in Ukraine.

The court said in a statement that the warrants had been issued on Monday because judges considered that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the men were responsible for “missile strikes carried out by the Russian armed forces against the Ukrainian electric infrastructure” from October 10 2022 until at least March 9 2023.

“During this time frame, a large number of strikes against numerous electric power plants and substations were carried out by the Russian armed forces in multiple locations in Ukraine,” the court added.

There is no immediate likelihood of either suspect being detained, since Russia is not a member of the ICC, does not recognise its jurisdiction and refuses to hand over suspects.

Last year, the court also issued a warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abduction of children from Ukraine.

While Moscow remains globally shunned for its war in Ukraine, Kiev continues to enjoy Western political support.

Ukraine was set to officially launch membership talks with the European Union yesterday, in what President Volodymyr Zelensky described as a dream come true for his country.

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