Russia/Ukraine: ICC arrest warrants for senior Russian officials ‘a crucial step towards justice’

Responding to the International Criminal Court (ICC) issuing arrest warrants against Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov for their alleged responsibility for the war crimes of directing attacks at civilian objects and causing excessive incidental harm to civilians or damage to civilian objects, as well as the crime against humanity of ‘inhumane acts’, Veronika Velch, Director of Amnesty International Ukraine, said:

“As Russia continues to conduct missile strikes that are crippling Ukraine’s critical civilian infrastructure, the ICC has once again displayed its willingness to bring the most senior alleged perpetrators to justice.

“These ICC warrants mark another crucial step towards justice. Their issuance helps rebuild trust in international law and the institutions that uphold it. It gives hope to victims of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine that those responsible will be held accountable, no matter how high ranking. We will work to ensure that all those indicted by the ICC are arrested as soon as possible and that justice is done and is victim-focused.

“The ICC’s arrest warrants rely on states carrying them out. Therefore, the international community must increase its efforts to ensure that — along with other Russian officials and military commanders sought by the ICC for trial including Vladimir Putin — Mr Shoigu and Mr Gerasimov are immediately arrested and surrendered to the ICC if they leave Russia.”


According to a press release from the International Criminal Court, there are “reasonable grounds to believe that the two suspects bear responsibility for missile strikes carried out by the forces under their command against the Ukrainian energy infrastructure from at least 10 October 2022 until at least 9 March 2023. During this timeframe, there was an alleged campaign of strikes against numerous electric power plants and sub-stations, which were carried out by the Russian armed forces in multiple locations in Ukraine.”

Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov were Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and First Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, respectively, at the relevant time.

There are currently 124 states parties to the Rome Statute, and the ICC’s arrest warrants are binding in 125 states (124 states parties plus Ukraine, which granted the ICC jurisdiction over its territory for crimes committed there since 2014). On 20 October 2022, Amnesty International noted that Russian attacks seriously damaged about 40% of the country’s energy facilities and amounted to war crimes.

Amnesty International has been documenting war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law committed in Ukraine since 2014.