Russia dismisses arrest warrants by ICC for Russian military commanders over alleged war crimes in Ukraine News
OSeveno, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Russia dismisses arrest warrants by ICC for Russian military commanders over alleged war crimes in Ukraine

Russia dismissed arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Lieutenant General Sergei Kobylash and Admiral Viktor Sokolov of the Russian Armed Forces on Wednesday, each allegedly responsible for war crimes committed in Ukraine. The arrest warrants were issued by a 3 judge- bench at the ICC against the two Russian commanders for directing attacks at civilian objects, causing excessive incidental harm to civilians or damage to civilian objects and for crimes against humanity of inhumane acts, all prescribed under the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute created the ICC.

In response to the ICC’s arrest warrants, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia “does not recognize the arrest warrants” because Russia does not subscribe to the Rome Statute He further said that, ” This is not the first decision, we also know that there are also various closed processes going on there, which are kept a secret.”

Despite Russia’s dismissal of the arrest warrants, some organisations such as Amnesty International and other members of the international community support ICC’s move to accord individual responsibility to Russian top officials over alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Senior Director for Research at Amnesty International stated that:

By issuing arrest warrants to Kobylash and Sokolov, the ICC has demonstrated that it will pursue cases to the top of the chain of command. As Russia conducts missile strikes that continue to decimate Ukraine’s critical civilian infrastructure, the ICC has served notice that those alleged to have committed war crimes will be brought to justice, no matter their rank.

The prosecutor of the ICC had filed the arrest warrants stating that the evidence collected and analysed by his office created reasonable grounds to believe that the 2 commanders bear individual criminal responsibility over the alleged crimes. He further said that in his application his office submitted that the individuals bear responsibility for attacks on critical infrastructure in Ukraine, including strikes against power plants and sub-stations. He stated, “My office presented evidence that these 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.”