Warrants for two senior Russian officers

Henry

Exactly one year after the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued a warrant for the arrest of pres. Vladimir Putin of Russia, the court has now also issued warrants for the arrest of two senior Russian officers.

The court has its sights set on Sergei Ivanovich Kobylash and Viktor Nikolayevich Sokolov, respectively a lieutenant general in the army and an admiral in the navy. According to the court, they were “allegedly responsible for the war crime of attacks on civilian targets”.

They are also accused of crimes against humanity.

The court says there are grounds to believe that Kobylash and Sokolov were responsible for missile attacks on Ukrainian electricity infrastructure. The alleged crimes were committed between 10 October 2022 and 9 March last year.

The court argues that at this time there was a campaign of attacks against electrical power plants and substations in Ukraine.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that they bear individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes,” the court said on Tuesday.

Allegedly, Kobylash and Sokolov either carried out the attacks directly, or they ordered them, or they failed to “exercise proper control over the forces under their command”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski welcomed the warrants as he said they sent a message to Russian commanders that “justice will be served” over attacks on civilians and critical infrastructure.

“Everyone who commits such crimes should know that they will be held accountable,” Zelenski said.

Who are Kobylash and Sokolov?

According to a document on the Russian Department of Defense’s official website, Kobylash (58) is in charge of an air unit related to Russia’s nuclear weapon defense system.

Sokolov (61) is commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, according to his official biography.

The International Criminal Court, which was created in 2002 to investigate war crimes worldwide, opened a field office in Kiev in September as part of its efforts to hold Russian forces accountable for possible war crimes.

A warrant was issued for Putin’s arrest in March last year.

RNews reported last year that the Russian president was accused of war crimes after thousands of Ukrainian children were allegedly illegally deported to Russia.

A warrant was also issued for the arrest of this country’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, on similar charges.

However, it is highly unlikely that anything will come of any of the warrants as the International Criminal Court does not have the power to arrest people. Moreover, the court can only exercise jurisdiction within its member states’ territorial territory – and Russia is not one of these member states.

However, people can be held accountable if they set foot in any of the court’s more than 120 member states.