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Larissa van den Herik: ‘Aggression is a very specific crime’

The recently opened ICPA (International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression Against Ukraine) in The Hague will be responsible for coordinating the prosecution of Russia for the crime of aggression and possibly also the prosecution of Vladimir Putin. The ICPA aims to close the gaps in jurisdiction of existing tribunals.

ICPA is a unique judicial centre, embedded within Eurojust to support national investigations into the crime of aggression in relation to the war in Ukraine. According to Van den Herik, Professor of International Law in Leiden, the International Criminal Court has ‘no jurisdiction over specific aggression. The ICPA will therefore collect, preserve, and analyse evidence. It can also prepare future cases.’

Asked why the JIT (Joint Investigation Team) is unable to perform this task, Van den Herik told Dutch radio programme BNR Nieuwsradio that ‘the JIT mainly deals with war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICPA will therefore complement the JIT.’ Van den Herik adds that ‘aggression is a very specific crime. It concerns the decision by Putin and associates to attack Ukraine - specifically the decision to start the invasion.'

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