A new international center is being set up at the European justice organization Eurojust in The Hague for the prosecution of Russian aggression against Ukraine. This broadens the scope for prosecuting Russian leaders and military personnel, beyond existing legal definitions such as war crimes, human rights and genocide.
This new agency will bundle the investigations already being conducted by the International Criminal Court ICC and the JIT investigation under the direction of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. In addition, Eurojust announced on Thursday, one year after the start of Russia's war against Ukraine, that it had also set up a database for collecting electronic evidence.
Investigators have already collected evidence against 276 individuals, and have already charged 99 of them. Details of the identity and charges have not yet been released. When asked by reporters if and when Russian President Putin will be tried, Eurojust President Ladislav Hamran said international justice will depend on international agreement, but "that day will definitely come."
In addition, the Netherlands also wants to set up a European headquarters in The Hague to prosecute Western companies that evade the boycott of Russia. That judicial office can cooperate with the international judicial authorities that are already established in The Hague. All major EU countries would have supported it.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU countries have, among other things, restricted exports to Russia. But the Kremlin manages to circumvent the boycott “en masse”, for example with the help of foreign intermediaries. The new European headquarters must collect information from all EU countries about this evasion, says Hoekstra.
It is true that the United Nations has been discussing the future prosecution of Russia, Russian politicians and soldiers for their role in the war against Ukraine for some time now. There is no clarity about this yet. In theory, the International Court of Justice or the ICC could be considered, but a separate UN tribunal could also be set up for this, just like the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Russia will probably block that in the UN Security Council
It is also possible to install a special court in the Netherlands 'under Ukrainian law'. This can be done without the Security Council (read: Russian consent). At the time, a similar legal construction was also applied for the prosecution of the Libyan suspects of the bomb attack on an American plane over Lockerbie, Scotland, by means of a special court in the heavily guarded Kamp Zeist.