ICC issues warrants for Russian military commanders

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on March 5 issued arrest warrants for two high-ranking Russian military commanders, finding there were "reasonable grounds" to believe they committed war crimes in the context of Moscow's ongoing war on Ukraine. According to a Court announcement, Sergei Kobylash, a lieutenant general in the Russian armed forces, and Viktor Sokolov, a navy admiral, are accused of having ordered attacks on "civilian objects" and of having caused excessive "incidental civilian harm," in violation of Article 8 of the Rome Statute.

In particular, Kobylash and Sokolov are believed responsible for missile strikes targeting Ukrainian power infrastructure between October 2022 and March 2023. "During this time frame, 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," according to the ICC statement.

The warrants were issued in response to complaints by ICC prosecutors, who alleged the two commanders bore responsibility for these war crimes either directly or through failure to exercise adequate control over their forces.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin praised the move, stating via X (Twitter):  "[T]his is a historic step, as we are proving once again that the world is united in delivering timely justice for the sake of all victims and survivors of this war."

The warrants were not released publicly due to concerns for witness safety and to safeguard the investigation, according to the Court.

Last March, the ICC issued arrest warrants against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Putin government's Commissioner for Children's Rights. In a tit-for-tat move two months later, Russian authorities indicted the ICC prosecutor and judges that signed off on these warrants.

From Jurist, Feb. 11. Used with permission.

See our last reports on the International Criminal Court investigation into war crimes claims against Russia.

ECCHR: Russia attack on Mariupol Theater was a war crime

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) published March 16 a new legal assessment of the Russian attack on the Mariupol Theater in Ukraine, claiming that the attack was a "war crime" and deliberately carried out by the Russian Air Force to target Ukrainian civilians who sought refuge in the theater. The bombing occurred on March 16, 2022, during the Russian siege of Mariupol. (Jurist)

Ukraine nationals begin filing claims for damages against Russia

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced April 2 that Ukrainian nationals are now able to file claims for damages incurred during Russia's invasion, through a newly-established register in the Hague.

The announcement came during the Minister's speech at the "Restoring Justice for Ukraine" conference, attended by delegates from 57 countries, being held in the Hague. 

The Register of Damage Caused by the Aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine (RD4U), was created by the Council of Europe in May 2023 and seeks to hold Russia accountable for reparations. It was officially opened April 2 and has already seen hundreds of claims in a first step towards building an international compensation mechanism. (Jurist)

Russia employs starvation as method of warfare: report

Russia employed starvation as a method of warfare during their 85-day siege of Mariupol in 2022, said a report published June 13 by Global Rights Compliance (GRC).

The report, titled "The Hope Left Us: Russia's Siege, Starvation, and Capture of Mariupol City," was published by the GRC Starvation Mobile Justice Team, as part of a UK, EU, and US-sponsored advisory group on Atrocity Crimes. GRC's research involved intelligence specialists, open-source intelligence, and geo-location experts analyzing satellite imagery, photographs, film, official public statements, and other digital data. (Jurist)

ICC issues arrest warrants for top Russia defense officials

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants June 25 for Russia’s former defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, and its military chief of staff, General Valery Gerasimov. The two are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, specifically for allegedly attacking civilian targets in Ukraine. (Jurist)