Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The ICC claims that two top-level Russians are being accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine

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The world court, known as the International Criminal Court (ICC), has accused two important Russian military figures of committing crimes during the war in Ukraine. The court in The Hague, Netherlands, named Lieutenant-General Sergei Kobylash and Admiral Viktor Sokolov in arrest warrants. The charges include directing attacks on civilians and causing excessive harm, as well as committing inhumane acts against humanity.

The court mentioned that the Russian Armed Forces, led by Kobylash and Sokolov, targeted electric power plants and substations in various places during the conflict in Ukraine. This ruling on Tuesday adds to the global effort to hold top Russian officials accountable for their actions in the war, which has been ongoing for over two years.

Notably, last March, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and a top official, Maria Lvova-Belova, accusing them of attempting to deport Ukrainian children to Russia.

Sokolov has been the commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet based in Crimea since August 2022. In a surprising turn of events last year, Ukraine claimed to have killed him in an attack on the occupied peninsula, but he later appeared in an interview just days afterward.

The international community has consistently accused Russia of committing war crimes in its attacks on Ukrainian cities, towns, and civilian infrastructure. In a historic move in December, four Russian soldiers were charged with war crimes against an American living in Ukraine during the invasion, marking the first time the US government used a decades-old law for such charges.

It’s important to note that Russia, like the US, Ukraine, and China, is not a member of the ICC. As the court does not conduct trials in absentia, any Russian officials charged would need to be handed over by Moscow or arrested outside of Russia. Despite accusations, the Kremlin has consistently denied any involvement in war crimes.

The ICC, established by the Rome Statute and located in The Hague, operates independently and is considered a court of “last resort.” While most countries (123 of them) are parties to the treaty, some notable exceptions, including Russia, are not. The ICC focuses on trying crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, and war crimes, with a mandate to step in when a country’s justice system cannot address these issues.

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