Cover Osteuropa 1-3/2022

In Osteuropa 1-3/2022

War in Ukraine
The Potential and Limits of International Criminal Law

Stefanie Bock

Deutsche Fassung


Since 2002, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has been prosecuting crimes of aggression, war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. The legal requirements to constitute a crime of aggression may be very high under international criminal law, but they are likely to be met in the case of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. However, in this case, the ICC can only exercise its jurisdiction if the act results from the aggressive act of a signatory state. But Russia has not signed the statute. The other three core crimes defined by international law, on the other hand, can be prosecuted before both the ICC and German courts. The list of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russia’s army in Ukraine is long. However, proving them is not easy. This is difficult in the case of genocide. Here, international jurisprudence basically requires proof that the perpetrator was striving for the physical, biological destruction of the group.

(Osteuropa 1-3/2022, pp. 87–99)