1709665045 The International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants against two high

The International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants against two high ranking Russian officers

Commander Viktor Sokolov, in Sevastopol, Crimea (Ukraine), September 27, 2022. Commander Viktor Sokolov, in Sevastopol, Crimea (Ukraine), September 27, 2022. ALEXEY PAVLISHAK / Portal

Two high-ranking Russian army officers are now expected in the International Criminal Court (ICC) prison in The Hague, Netherlands. At the request of prosecutor Karim Khan, judges issued arrest warrants against the two men on Tuesday, March 5. Air Force Lieutenant General (the equivalent of Major General) Sergei Kobylash and Vice Admiral Viktor Sokolov, commander of the Black Sea Fleet at the time of the alleged events, are being prosecuted for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Ukraine between October 10, 2022 and March 9, 2023.

Read Live | Live, war in Ukraine: “We have to look for new ways to help Ukraine,” says the Czech President during a visit by Emmanuel Macron

Complete your selection

At the very beginning of winter, the Russian army launched an attack campaign against power plants and electricity plants in several regions of Ukraine. At the time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that more than 30% of the country's power plants had been destroyed in a week.

The content of the two arrest warrants remains confidential in order to “protect witnesses and ensure the investigation,” the court said in a press release. However, the judges were aware that similar violations of international humanitarian law “continue” to occur and considered that publicizing their existence could “contribute to the prevention” of other crimes. They did not say whether this warning might apply to the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The Ukrainian power grid, Russia’s new “battlefield”

Complete your selection

A “state policy”

According to the ICC, Sergei Kobylash and Viktor Sokolov are suspected of war crimes for attacks on civilian infrastructure and disproportionate attacks on potential military targets. The officers gave the order to attack knowing that this could result in civilian casualties that were “obviously excessive in relation to the expected military advantage.”

On Tuesday, the NGO Human Rights Watch welcomed the court's announcement. She recalled that attacks on electrical installations had resulted in civilians losing “water, heating and health care.” For the organization, which had published several reports at the time, “the repeated attacks on the Ukrainian energy grid appeared to be intended primarily to spread terror among the population and thus violate the laws of war.”

The judges believe the bombings were part of a broader framework of “state policy” directed against civilians. Therefore, the two high-ranking Russian officers are also suspected of crimes against humanity because of “serious attacks on the physical and mental integrity” of the population. “Any Russian commander who orders attacks against Ukrainian civilians and critical infrastructure must know that justice will be done,” Volodymyr Zelensky reacted on the social network X.

You still have 25.19% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.