By Albania, Belgium, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Estonia, Guatemala, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, North-Macedonia and Poland
on the accountability for the crime of aggression committed on the territory of Ukraine
The aggression committed by the Russian Federation is more than an attack on Ukraine’s territorial integrity. It is also an attack on the international legal system, which is primarily grounded in the Charter of the United Nations.
Ensuring accountability for the crime of aggression committed against Ukraine is critical in order to signal that such a crime will not be repeated in the future nor go unpunished, whether it takes place in Ukraine or elsewhere. This is in line with resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, amongst which the latest ES-11/6, which emphasized the need to ensure accountability for the most serious crimes under international law committed on the territory of Ukraine.
The response of the international community, including through the prosecution of the crime of aggression, is therefore of crucial importance for the future of the international legal order. We reaffirm our commitment to harmonize the jurisdiction of the Rome Statute over its four core crimes, in order to allow the International Criminal Court to prosecute the crime of aggression in similar future situations. We equally encourage Ukraine to ratify the Rome Statute and its amendments.
Currently, the United Nations Security Council can enable the International Criminal Court to exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression against Ukraine by referring it to the Court. Such an initiative would however face the prospect of the Russian Federation’s veto as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Therefore, the only way for the international community to ensure accountability for the crime of aggression against Ukraine is to create an appropriate international judicial mechanism, complementary to the ICC system in order to pursue practical steps towards the goal of ensuring justice for all victims and contributing to the prevention of future atrocity crimes.
The crime of aggression can only be committed by a person who is in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of the aggressor State(s). In order to be fully effective, this judicial mechanism should allow for the prosecution of the most
senior leadership of such aggressor State(s).
We believe that an international tribunal, before which the immunities granted by international law to the most senior leadership of a state do not apply, is best placed to deliver the abovedescribed objectives. We therefore call on the international community to actively engage in discussions on the establishment of such a tribunal, in particular through decisions of the United Nations General Assembly-