By Thomas Ansell
The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced that an international centre to record and investigate war crimes committed in Ukraine will be opened in The Hague. Here is the readout of the speech announcing the move, made in Kiev yesterday, via the European Commission website:
And Russia must be held accountable in courts for its odious crimes. Prosecutors from Ukraine and the European Union are already working together. We are collecting evidence. As a first step, I am pleased to announce that an International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression in Ukraine will be set up in The Hague. This Centre will coordinate the collection of evidence. It will be embedded in the Joint Investigation Team which is supported by our agency Eurojust. We will be ready to launch work very rapidly with Eurojust, with Ukraine, with the partners of our Joint Investigation Team, as well as the Netherlands. The perpetrator must be held accountable.
The EU has been looking at ways to support Ukraine in bringing people that have committed war crimes in front of a judge since the beginning of the invasion, reports Trouw. EU countries, including the Netherlands, have previously sent forensic investigators to help provide Ukrainian investigators with outside knowledge and help. Aside from this, the Brussels institutions (and the Dutch government) have also sought support for a special ‘Aggression Tribunal’, to ascribe responsibility for the invasion.
EU member states were reportedly informed of the plan in the last few days, before it was announced publicly.