The International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression Against Ukraine (ICPA) started operations in the Hague. What issues will it address, and how will it help Kyiv bring the Russians to justice for their crimes against Ukrainians?
According to the Eurojust website, the ICPA will support the preparation of crime of aggression cases, by securing crucial evidence and facilitating the process of case building at an early stage.
What is the goal of the ICPA?
The launch of the center is a clear signal that the world is united and unwavering on the path to holding the Russian regime accountable for all its crimes, said Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andrii Kostin during the launch event. Its goal is to bridge the gaping hole in accountability for the crime of aggression in the international criminal justice architecture.
The war in Ukraine is the most documented in history, and, for the first time, active investigations into the crime of aggression are taking place while an armed conflict is still ongoing.
At the same time, we are dealing with an international crime that has rarely been prosecuted and for which there is no standard practice.
Karim A.A. Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, said that the launch of the center was "light" in the building of new partnerships towards accountability for the crimes of aggression.
Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, Justice Minister of the Netherlands, also stressed that this was an important step in ensuring that international crimes resulting from Russian aggression against Ukraine will be prosecuted.
The United States will be represented in the ICPA by the U.S. Special Prosecutor for the Crime of Aggression, Jessica Kim.
How will the ICPA work?
The ICPA is a unique judicial hub embedded in Eurojust to support national investigations into the crime of aggression related to the war in Ukraine.
Thanks to the ICPA, independent prosecutors from different countries will be able to work together in the same location on a daily basis, exchange evidence in a fast and efficient manner, and agree on a common investigative and prosecution strategy.
The work of the ICPA will effectively prepare and contribute to any future prosecutions of the crime of aggression, irrespective of the jurisdiction before which these will be brought.
Evidence already submitted to CICED (the Core International Crimes Evidence Database managed by Eurojust) may be relevant for the investigation into the crime of aggression. It will also be possible to store national evidence in CICED brought in by future ICPA participants to subsequently be analyzed.
What countries became members of the ICPA?
In addition to Ukraine, five of the joint investigation team (JIT) members (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, and Romania) are participating in the ICPA’s start-up phase. As was mentioned earlier, the United States appointed a Special Prosecutor for the Crime of Aggression, who will be supporting the ICPA’s activities.
In the coming months, the participation of other countries and organizations in the ICPA, such as the EU Advisory Mission to Ukraine, will be facilitated.
Countries in possession of information or evidence relevant to the investigation of the crime of aggression against Ukraine may also request their participation.
Who will fund the ICPA?
The ICPA is fully funded by the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments.
The financial contribution agreement covering an initial amount of €8.3 million was signed by the Director of the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments Mr Peter M. Wagner, and Eurojust’s Administrative Director Mr Evert van Walsum.