Thursday 30 March 2023

The Hague hosts centre to collect evidence of Russian crimes in Ukraine

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ursula von der Leyen after the press conference. Photo: Sergei Supinsky AFP

The European Commission is establishing a special office in The Hague to help prosecute Russia for crimes in Ukraine.

The International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression in Ukraine will coordinate the collection of evidence and join the investigation by European crime  agency Eurojust.

The announcement was made by commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a meeting in Kyiv on Thursday.

The new centre is ‘a strong symbol of our support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression,’ Von der Leyen said. ‘Russia must be held accountable in courts for its odious crimes.’

The Hague, which has dubbed itself the ‘city of peace and justice’ is currently home to  International Court of Justice, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, as well as the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes individuals for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In addition, the city hosts Eurojust, the EU agency for criminal justice cooperation and Europol, the EU’s law enforcement arm.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was also located in the city until its closure in 2017.

Dutch foreign affairs minister Wopke Hoekstra said in December he backed the idea of creating a special tribunal in The Hague to try Russia’s leaders for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

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