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GUARDIAN OF JUSTICE: 
UNLEASHING GLOBAL POWER FOR ACCOUNTABILITY

Arina Matvieieva

Introduction

The absence of a practical application of the clear definition of the crime of aggression, as highlighted by Imoedemhe (2023), positions Ukraine as a significant case that not only warrants examination but also challenges international law and the global community. The International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression (ICPA), a recent initiative from the European Commission, was designed with the promise that the crime of aggression would no longer go unpunished in the case of Ukraine. 

The ICPA, embedded in the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust), aims to support national investigations into the crime of aggression related to the war in Ukraine (Eurojust, n.d.). Yet, due to its recent establishment and a dearth of reports on its activities, coupled with a lack of scholarly literature on the subject, the precise impact of the ICPA within the framework of EU policies remains uncertain. Equally unclear is its relationship with the prospective special tribunal designated for addressing the crime of aggression in the Ukrainian case.

The International Criminal Court (ICC), established by the Rome Statute (1998), plays a pivotal role in investigating, prosecuting, and penalizing individuals for international crimes, closing impunity gaps, and ensuring accountability (Imoedemhe, 2023). The ICC emerged as a light of hope for Ukraine in the aftermath of the full-scale Russian invasion that shattered its territorial integrity, political independence, and sovereignty on February 24, 2022 (Fedorenko, V., & Fedorenko, M., 2022). The ensuing human catastrophe, marked by thousands of deaths, torture, displacement, , and human rights violations (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2023), provided a potential legal basis for the ICC to investigate and prosecute those responsible for such grave offenses.

 Interpreted by the Nuremberg and United Nations (UN) charters, along with United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 3314, reaffirmed at the 2010 Kampala conference, the crime of aggression  – one of the most mysterious of the famous four core international crimes – retains its initial definition:

The planning, preparation, initiation, or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity, and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations. (UN General Assembly, 1998, Article 8 bis) 

Will the ICC be able to prosecute the crime of aggression in the Ukrainian case? While the ICC serves as the initial locus for seeking justice for Ukraine – with 43 countries referring the situation to the ICC and the prosecutor, Karim Khan, starting off the investigations – there are regrettable limitations in the court's mandate and its political influence in this particular situation (Imoedemhe, 2023). The ICC must navigate challenges in punishing the atrocities committed, not only for the evolution of international crime law but also for the cause of international peace and global criminal justice (Pollman, 2023). In line with the ICC's call for justice, European institutions reacted to the Russian invasion of Ukraine through various means, including financial measures and sanctions, as well as exclusions from significant organizations like the Council of Europe (Council of Europe, 2023). Yet these actions fall short of addressing the fundamental issue of holding Russia legally accountable for the war crimes it committed.  The ICPA could prove its importance in solving this problem. 

This paper seeks to bridge existing gaps by exploring the  issue through the following research question: How does the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine (ICPA) contribute to the EU's efforts to establish a tribunal  holding Russia accountable for the war crime of aggression  committed by the 2022 invasion of Ukraine? The analysis will focus on the ICPA as an object of European Union policy, addressing issues in international law, in particular complementing the jurisdiction of the ICC; responding to the war crime of aggression within the EU policy framework; navigating jurisdictional differences among member states and limited possibilities for individual member states to investigate, collect evidence, and prosecute on the crime of aggression; and fostering international cooperation in establishing a special tribunal for the crime of aggression. Each dimension will be examined in turn, leading to a conclusive answer to the research question and a policy proposal.

History of the ICPA

The establishment of the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression within Eurojust is a noteworthy response to the war crimes committed during Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This section delves into the ICPA's formation, its role in coordination with Eurojust, and its significance within the broader EU policy context.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the creation of the ICPA on February 2, 2023 (Statement by President, 2023). The ICPA's primary objective is to support investigations into the crime of aggression by facilitating the collection of crucial evidence at an early stage.

Eurojust plays an important role in supporting the ICPA. Its commitment includes providing legal, operational, and logistical support to ensure the effective functioning of the ICPA, especially in coordination with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) (History in the Making, 2023).

During the United for Justice Conference on March 3-5, 2023, the ICPA's role was formalized through amendments to the JIT agreement (ICPA Made Official, 2023). The ICPA, as part of the support structure for the JIT, focuses on enhancing investigations into the crime of aggression. The conference's outcomes solidified Eurojust's role in supporting the ICPA and clarified the additional support available to JIT partner countries.

Core International Crimes Evidence Database (CICED)

Eurojust's introduction of the Core International Crimes Evidence Database (CICED) is an essential component in preserving, storing, and analyzing evidence related to core international crimes (Start of Operations, 2023). The approach of CICED is to centralize  international efforts and enhance collaboration in national and international investigations by facilitating the exchange of critical evidence.

On July 3, 2023, the ICPA officially commenced operations at Eurojust (ICPA Starts Operations, 2023). Notable figures, including European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, emphasized the EU's commitment to contribute  to ensuring accountability for international crimes committed during Russia's war against Ukraine.

International Support - U.S. Financial Contribution

The U.S. Department of State's announcement of a financial contribution to the ICPA demonstrates the efforts of international collaboration in achieving justice for Ukraine (Eurojust Welcomes U.S. Financial Support, 2023). The Memorandum of Understanding with JIT Ukraine and the submission of crucial evidence to the CICED highlight the efforts to enhance collaboration and collection of relevant evidence.

This section shows the collaborative efforts within the EU framework and beyond to create a suitable instrument to ensure accountability for the crime of aggression. The integration of the ICPA into Eurojust's operations is an important development in EU policy history, which underscores the EU’s commitment to a coordinated and effective response to war crimes, ensuring justice for their victims.

Navigating International Law Challenges: ICPA's Role in Complementing ICC Jurisdiction

This section delves into the challenges encountered by the ICC in prosecuting the crime of aggression and the pivotal role played by the recently instituted ICPA in addressing  international law riddles.

The Ukrainian-Russian Conflict as a Challenge to International Law

The crime of aggression, rooted in customary international law and initially prosecuted as “crimes against peace” at Nuremberg (1945-1946) and Tokyo (1945-1948) Military Tribunals, has seen a resurgence in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin against Ukraine are considered a clear instance of aggression, demanding accountability in line with the objectives of the Rome Statute, according to which perpetrators of international crimes should not escape justice (N’Zatioula Grovogui, 2023; Imoedemhe, 2023; Lewis, 2019).

On December 15, 2017, the Assembly of States Parties adopted a resolution activating the ICC's jurisdiction over the crime of aggression from July 17, 2018 (Kreß, 2018). However, the ICC faces a jurisdictional challenge in the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine (Hosseini & Salari, 2023). The Rome Statute requires both the state of the alleged perpetrators and the victim state to have ratified the statute for the ICC to prosecute the crime of aggression (McDougall, 2021). Since neither Ukraine nor Russia have ratified the Rome Statute, the ICC lacks jurisdiction over this crime in the ongoing conflict (Imoedemhe, 2023). Despite Ukraine's attempts to accept the ICC's jurisdiction through Article 12(3) Declarations in 2014 and later, the lack of ratification by the concerned states hampers the ICC's authority (Imoedemhe, 2023). Notably, Russia withdrew its signature from the Rome Statute in 2016, limiting ICC jurisdiction (Moxley, 2022).

The ICC's jurisdiction in this conflict is further limited to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide (Imoedemhe, 2023). While Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan initiated investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine on April 1, 2022, the ICC's jurisdiction does not cover the crime of aggression in this conflict (Hosseini & Salari, 2023). Unfortunately, while the ICC's commendable efforts in the investigation are recognised by scholars, these efforts are practically offset by the limits of the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression in the case of Ukraine (Hosseini & Salari, 2023).

However, even with such limitations, the ICC retains the authority to prosecute individuals, including Russian nationals, for crimes within its jurisdiction triggered by a UN Security Council referral (Imoedemhe, 2023). There is a consensus that top Russian officials bear the greatest responsibility for the aggression (Iashchenko & Balynska, 2022; Vasetsky, 2022). In the current situation, the case has not been referred to the ICC through the UN Security Council. This poses significant barriers to ICC prosecution, creating challenges in bringing those responsible for the crime of aggression in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict to justice. The political complexities and diplomatic considerations within the Security Council contribute to the impasse (Hehir & Lang, 2015; Imoedemhe, 2023). As a result, the international community faces hurdles in utilizing the ICC as a primary mechanism for addressing the crime of aggression in this particular context.

Role of ICPA - Complementarity Principle

In response to the limitations faced by the ICC, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for the establishment of the ICPA. This center, supported by the European Union, the United States, and a JIT for Ukraine, serves as a critical adjunct to the ICC, aiming to bridge the legal gap and facilitate accountability for the crime of aggression (Eurojust, n.d.). Therefore, this section will delve into the role of the ICPA with regard to the complementarity principle, important within the framework of international law. 

The complementarity principle is pivotal in addressing the jurisdictional gaps of the ICC (Benzing, 2003). Enshrined in the Rome Statute, it underscores the necessity for states to take national measures to address international crimes and eliminate impunity (Jurdi, 2010). Recognizing the limitations of the ICC in prosecuting the crime of aggression in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the establishment of the ICPA aligns with the complementarity principle. While the ICC plays a complementary role, the ICPA aims to work alongside the ICC, bridging legal gaps and supporting the Joint Investigation Team for Ukraine. The ICPA serves to support national investigations into the crime of aggression related to the war in Ukraine, coordinate evidence collection, and facilitate early-stage case building (Eurojust, n.d.). Its role is crucial in complementing the efforts of the ICC and ensuring that accountability for the crime of aggression is pursued at both international and national levels. 

Furthermore, the ICPA is expected to be a forerunner of a special tribunal for aggression. Ukraine's Prosecutor General, Andriy Kostin, expresses optimism about the ICPA yielding results in the coming months, setting the stage for potential proceedings against top government and military officials (Deutsch & van den Berg, 2023). While the exact legal framework of a future tribunal targeting top government and military officials is under discussion, the ICPA emerges as a practical and necessary step towards addressing the crime of aggression in the context of the Ukrainian case (Deutsch & van den Berg, 2023). The center's establishment reflects international solidarity in the pursuit of justice and accountability for reprehensible acts committed during the conflict.

In the face of jurisdictional challenges encountered by the ICC in prosecuting the crime of aggression in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the establishment of the ICPA emerges as a significant development. Aligned with the complementarity principle, the ICPA   unites  national efforts to hold perpetrators accountable for international crimes. While the ICC continues its investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity, the ICPA represents a possibility of collaboration between the members.  That enables already addressing the unique legal challenges posed by the crime of aggression in the ongoing conflict.

Assessment of Existing Policies and Challenges

The EU has taken a robust stance against Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine, condemning both the invasion and the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories (EU Response, n.d.). This section examines the EU's multifaceted response, including diplomatic actions, sanctions against Russia and Belarus, and support for Ukraine. Additionally, it addresses the economic and humanitarian impact of the conflict on global markets. This section also provides how the newly established ICPA addresses the issues within the EU policy framework.                                                                              

Approach of the EU

On the diplomatic field, The EU, along with its member states, strongly condemns Russia's aggression and the annexation of Ukrainian territories (EU Response, n.d.). European Council conclusions from February 9, 2023, underscore EU leaders' demands for an immediate cessation of military actions, withdrawal of forces from Ukraine, and respect for Ukraine's territorial integrity (EU Response, n.d.). The EU expresses solidarity with Ukraine, supporting its right to determine its destiny and commending the Ukrainian people's courage (EU Solidarity, 2022).

Furthermore, the EU has employed sanctions as a powerful tool to respond to the war of aggression. A series of packages, implemented since February 2022, include measures targeting individuals, economic sectors, and entities involved in the conflict (Sanctions Adopted, n.d.). Sanctions against Russia and Belarus aim to weaken their economic bases, restrict access to critical technologies, and curb their ability to wage war (Sanctions Adopted, n.d.). The EU has demonstrated unity and strength in adopting unprecedented restrictive measures (The EU in 2022, n.d.).

Moreover, the EU supports Ukraine, providing humanitarian, political, financial, and military assistance (EU Support, n.d.). The European Council's commitment, as expressed by President Charles Michel on February 3, 2023, emphasizes the EU's enduring partnership with Ukraine in rebuilding a modern and prosperous nation (Remarks by President Charles Michel, 2023). The EU coordinates efforts with international partners, such as the UN, OSCE, NATO, and the G7, to address the refugee crisis and condemn indiscriminate attacks on civilians (Collaboration With International Organisations, n.d.).

Addressing Global Energy and  Food Crises

The Russian invasion has disrupted global markets, leading to soaring prices for key commodities (Jagtap et al., 2022). The EU has responded to the energy crisis by phasing out dependency on Russian fossil fuel imports (State of the Energy Union, 2023). Member states collaborate to secure gas supplies, reduce gas demand, and accelerate the transition to clean energy. The EU is actively working on proposals for energy solidarity, renewables deployment, and a market correction mechanism for gas prices to mitigate the impact on households and businesses.

The EU's response to the global food crisis involves providing emergency relief, supporting sustainable food production in developing countries, and promoting open and barrier-free trade (Food Security and Affordability, 2023). The EU's “solidarity lanes” have facilitated the export of grain and oilseed from Ukraine, aiding countries in need (European Commission to Establish, 2022). European Council President Michel's leadership in the global food security summit underscores the EU's commitment to international cooperation and partnership initiatives (Leaders’ Summit, n.d.).

ICPA's Role in Addressing Legal Accountability in the EU Policy Framework

While diplomatic and economic measures have tangible consequences for targeting Russian aggression, their primary impact is on political and economic levels (Hunter, 1991). These measures, though effective in exerting pressure on Russia, do not directly address the legal responsibility for war crimes committed during the invasion (Connolly, 2018). A dedicated legal framework, therefore, is essential to achieve accountability.

The ICPA emerges as a critical component within the EU policy framework to bridge this legal gap. Established following the activation of the ICC's jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, the ICPA operates independently, focusing specifically on the legal aspects of acts of aggression. It stands uniquely positioned to pursue legal accountability for war crimes, complementing the broader diplomatic and economic efforts of the EU.

While the EU's response to Russia's aggression on Ukraine has been comprehensive in diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian dimensions, addressing legal accountability requires a nuanced approach. The ICPA emerges as a pivotal component within the EU policy framework to fill this legal void. By focusing on the crime of aggression and operating independently, the ICPA ensures a dedicated and specialized pursuit of legal justice, complementing the broader efforts of the EU in responding to this grave violation of international law.

Uniting Power of the ICPA

The crime of aggression in the context of the Russia-Ukraine conflict poses a unique challenge to the existing international judicial landscape (Pollman, 2023). The absence of a court exercising jurisdiction over this specific crime creates a significant gap in accountability (Reinisch, 2014). This section explores how the ICPA strategically addresses the jurisdictional complexities faced by individual countries seeking to prosecute this crime.

The embedding of the ICPA within Eurojust offers a strategic advantage in navigating jurisdictional complexities. Eurojust, renowned for its role in coordinating efforts against cross-border crimes, serves as a blueprint for the ICPA's potential functionality (Eurojust and the War, n.d.). Given that core international crimes often transcend borders, Eurojust's experience, particularly through its Genocide Network, becomes invaluable (Brière, 2019). This network supports national investigations related to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, acknowledging the direct impact on European Union Member States (Genocide Network, n.d.).

The ongoing Russian invasion prompted crucial changes to Eurojust's mandate. Recognizing the challenges posed by the conflict, amendments to the Eurojust Regulation, effective from June 1, 2022, empower Eurojust to collect, analyze, and preserve evidence related to core international crimes (Eurojust Legal Framework, n.d.). This enhanced role allows Eurojust to store evidence more permanently, cooperate directly with international judicial authorities, and establish automated data management and storage facilities.

Enhancing Cooperation and Evidence Exchange

At the core of the ICPA's contribution is the daily collaboration it fosters among prosecutors (Eurojust, n.d.). This collaborative effort transcends routine information exchange, representing a concerted platform for the development of a common strategy. By convening legal experts from diverse jurisdictions, the ICPA ensures a seamless alignment of investigative and prosecution approaches (Eurojust, n.d.). This alignment is pivotal for addressing the intricate nuances inherent in the crime of aggression and, in turn, ensuring a robust and comprehensive legal response to the ongoing conflict. 

The integration of the ICPA into Eurojust, coupled with amendments to the Eurojust Regulation, exemplifies the European Union's dynamic response to jurisdictional challenges in the context of the crime of aggression. These measures underscore a commitment to accountability, ensuring that legal frameworks evolve to effectively address contemporary conflicts and crimes. Ultimately, this contributes to the restoration of global security and the upholding of the rule of law in the face of complex international challenges.

Building the Framework for a Special Tribunal to Address the Crime of Aggression

The establishment of a special tribunal to address the crime of aggression in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine faces several challenges, including the lack of jurisdiction by the ICC, Security Council obstacles, and the unprecedented nature of prosecuting the crime of aggression (Imoedemhe, 2023). The unique circumstances require international cooperation and innovative approaches to ensure accountability (Jusufaj, 2023). This section explores how the ICPA plays a pivotal role in fostering global cooperation to pave the way for a special tribunal.

International collaboration

The collaboration between the ICC and Eurojust in a JIT represents a landmark in international cooperation. This partnership, involving the ICC in a JIT for the first time, signals a collective effort to gather evidence on core international crimes committed in Ukraine (Negishi, 2023). Leveraging the expertise of the ICC and Eurojust, including operational, analytical, legal, and financial support, enhances the effectiveness of investigations (Joint Investigation Team, n.d.).

International cooperation extends beyond the borders of Europe, involving the United States in a joint effort to address crimes of aggression. This collaboration entails the sharing of crucial evidence and financial support, underscoring the global commitment to a collective response in addressing the Russian invasion (U.S. Assistance, 2023).

ICPA as a Forerunner to a Special Tribunal

Major European countries, the European Union, and the Council of Europe have endorsed Ukraine's request to prosecute Russia for the crime of aggression (Brown, 2023). Lithuania, through its president,  has called for the establishment of a special tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. The President emphasizes the need for such a tribunal to complement the role of the International Criminal Court and bring Russia to justice (According to the President, 2023). Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's declaration, supported by European countries, emphasizes the importance of a special tribunal to complement existing international courts, including the ICC, ICJ, and ECtHR (Press Release: Calling for the Creation, 2022).

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has actively supported the establishment of an ad hoc international criminal tribunal (PACE Calls, 2022). Recommendations include encouraging member states' participation, providing logistical and technical assistance, and exploring ways for the Council of Europe to be actively involved in setting up and operating such a tribunal (Global Impact, n.d.).

The European Union has been proactive in supporting the creation of a special tribunal. The European Parliament's resolution calls for the swift establishment of such a tribunal, urging support from multilateral forums such as the UN and the Council of Europe (Global Impact, n.d.). The European Commission's proposals offer options for a specialized independent international tribunal or a hybrid court integrated into national justice systems (Press Corner, n.d.).

In-depth analyses from the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Council of Europe Secretary General acknowledge the challenges in establishing a tribunal directly through the UN (Global Impact, n.d.). The reports suggest exploring alternatives, such as agreements between Ukraine and international organizations or between states.

Considering all the abovementioned developments and the complexity of the issue revolving around the tribunal establishment, the ICPA emerges as a promising ad hoc solution. It appears as  the first concrete step of the European Union in the journey towards a special tribunal. Indeed, the ICPA plays a vital role in building a comprehensive case file that could be presented in court (Eurojust, n.d.).

The efforts to establish a special tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine involve a complex web of international cooperation, aiming to address political and legal challenges. The collaboration with the ICC, Eurojust, the United States, and various international organizations reflects a collective commitment to addressing the unprecedented challenges posed by the conflict. The emergence of the ICPA as a forerunner to a potential tribunal, coupled with endorsements from major European countries and institutions, underscores the determination to pursue justice and accountability in the face of grave international crimes.

Policy Proposal: Strengthening the Mechanism of the Accountability Objective

The purpose of this policy proposal is to enhance international efforts to hold Russia accountable for the invasion of Ukraine and crimes of aggression through improved transparency, collaboration, evidence gathering, and active involvement of victims in the case-building process, with a specific focus on the activities of the ICPA.

Transparency Enhancement

To enhance transparency, it is imperative to consistently publish detailed activities and progress reports of the ICPA on Eurojust's official website. Additionally, comprehensive summaries of ICPA's contributions should be integrated into Eurojust's annual report, offering relevant stakeholders a comprehensive overview of its endeavors. Robust public engagement strategies, such as the dissemination of press releases and conducting briefings, should be implemented to ensure that the global community remains well-informed about the ongoing efforts of the ICPA (Trust and Public Policy, 2017).

Access to Information

To improve access to information, it is recommended to integrate documents related to the ICPA into Eurojust's public register. This measure ensures that citizens, legal entities, and scholars can easily access relevant information. Furthermore, a dedicated section on Eurojust's website should be developed specifically for accessing ICPA-related documents, ensuring  user-friendly navigation.



International Collaboration Efforts Enhancement

International collaboration is important in the context of international law particularly when  international law has certain legal gaps, such as in the Ukrainian case. International cooperation is crucial in holding perpetrators of war crimes accountable, as it can help secure  an effective collaborative approach of individual states in prosecuting accused persons (Wald, 2012). To enhance international collaboration efforts, it is proposed to establish regular consultative forums that involve Eurojust, the ICPA, the ICC, and member states. These forums will serve as platforms for open dialogue, information sharing, and the coordination of efforts to address the crime of aggression.

Moreover, member states are encouraged to enter into legal cooperation agreements with the ICPA, which will facilitate the establishment of a special tribunal dedicated to addressing the crime of aggression. This would ensure a smooth, coordinated response to the challenges posed by these violations. 

In addition, member states are urged to establish national mechanisms for evidence gathering, with a specific emphasis on actively involving victims of war crimes in the process. This inclusive approach recognizes the importance of victim participation in building cases against perpetrators of crimes of aggression.

Active Involvement of Victims

To actively involve victims in the process, it is recommended to establish victim participation panels within the framework of the ICPA. These panels will ensure the direct involvement of victims in the case-building process, providing them with a platform to contribute their stories. To further support victims, the implementation of mechanisms such as legal counsel and mental health support is of grave importance. These support systems aim to address the diverse needs of victims, recognizing the emotional and legal challenges they may face throughout the legal proceedings. Additionally, ensuring that victims have access to relevant information and providing them with different opportunities to contribute to the evidence-collection process is essential. This inclusive approach empowers victims and acknowledges their vital role in ensuring accountability for the crime of aggression.

Monitoring and Evaluation

From a legal perspective, while proposing amendments to Eurojust's legal framework, it is essential to clearly define ICPA’s responsibilities, reporting mechanisms, and procedures for assessing its activities. This step will help streamline operations and enhance the overall efficiency of ICPA.

To ensure continuous monitoring and evaluation of the ICPA, it is recommended to establish an independent oversight committee. This committee will be tasked with monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of ICPA’s initiatives, thereby enhancing accountability and transparency in its operations. Furthermore, an annual impact assessment of ICPA’s activities should be conducted to provide stakeholders with a comprehensive understanding of the outcomes achieved. To enrich the discourse surrounding ICPA activities, it is also recommended to actively involve legal scholars in the monitoring and evaluation of the ICPA. Their participation will bring diverse perspectives to the table, contributing to the holistic way of evaluation of the ICPA’s effectiveness.

This policy proposal aims to fortify global accountability measures against Russia's aggression by promoting transparency, inter-state collaboration, and access to information. Active involvement of victims in the case-building process ensures a more comprehensive and victim-centered approach. Continuous monitoring of the ICPA will help to keep track of  ICPA’s activities and successes and ultimately contribute to fostering international involvement. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the establishment of the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression within Eurojust signifies an important step in addressing the challenges posed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The multifaceted approach outlined in this analysis underscores the significance of international cooperation, legal accountability, and victim participation in ensuring justice for the grave international crimes committed.

Within the European Union policy framework, the EU's comprehensive response to the Russian invasion includes diplomatic condemnation, economic sanctions, and humanitarian support for Ukraine. The ICPA stands out as a dedicated legal framework, complementing these efforts by ensuring a nuanced approach to legal accountability for war crimes. Furthermore, the ICPA integration into Eurojust, supported by the Core International Crimes Evidence Database, reflects the EU's commitment to a coordinated and effective response to war crimes, aligning with the complementarity principle to bridge the gaps left by the limited jurisdiction of the ICC. By operating independently and focusing specifically on the crime of aggression, the ICPA aims to fill the accountability gap left by jurisdictional limitations.

Navigating jurisdictional differences among member states and the limited possibilities for individual member states to prosecute the crime of aggression, the ICPA strategically leverages Eurojust's expertise. Amendments to Eurojust's mandate empower it to preserve evidence related to core international crimes, fostering cooperation and evidence exchange among member states. Moreover, in fostering international cooperation for the establishment of a special tribunal, the ICPA acts as a forerunner. While the EU, major European countries, and international organizations endorse the establishment of a special tribunal, the ICPA, operating on the basis of Eurojust, in collaboration with the ICC, and supported by the United States, already at an early stage contributes to building a comprehensive case file for potential proceedings. 

The proposed policy aims to strengthen the mechanism of accountability for the crime of aggression in the Ukrainian case. By enhancing transparency, facilitating access to information, promoting international collaboration, actively involving victims, and ensuring continuous monitoring and evaluation, the policy seeks to fortify global accountability measures against Russia's aggression. In light of the ongoing offenses and the recent significant missile attack, it is imperative for the civilized world to assert that the Russian state and its people must assume both international legal and moral responsibility for the war against Ukraine (Russia Unleashes, 2023).






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