The Need for a Special Tribunal on the Crime of Aggression in Ukraine


Daily news is filled with evidence of horrific war crimes being uncovered in Ukraine. This panel, however, focuses on the crime that started the war—without which none of the war crimes (or other crimes and harm to the Ukrainian people) would be occurring—namely, the crime of aggression. While there is individual criminal responsibility under the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute for this crime, the panel explains the jurisdictional gap that prevents the ICC from investigating and prosecuting the crime in the current situation. The panel therefore explores the imperative of creating a Special Tribunal on the Crime of Aggression through a bilateral agreement between Ukraine and the United Nations, on the recommendation of the UN General Assembly. The panel also explores the need to amend the Rome Statute to fix the jurisdictional gap to cover similar situations in the future.

Marcy L. Kahn
, Chair, Rule of Law Task Force, Associate Justice, New York Appellate Division, First Department (Retired)

Professor Oona Hathaway
, Yale Law School

Keynote Speaker:
Ambassador Anton Korynevych
, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (video remarks)

Ambassador Christian Wenaweser
, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations
David J. Scheffer, former US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues
Professor Jennifer Trahan, New York University Center for Global Affairs

Closing Speaker:
H.E. Rein Tammsaar
, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the United Nations

Related Materials:

FAQ: A Special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine –

“Russia’s Crime and Punishment: How to Prosecute the Illegal War in Ukraine” by Oona A. Hathaway in Foreign Affairs

“Why a ‘Hybrid’ Ukrainian Tribunal on the Crime of Aggression Is Not the Answer” by Jennifer Trahan in Just Security

Just Security Blog Series on “U.N. General Assembly and International Criminal Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression Against Ukraine”

Sponsoring Committee:
Rule of Law Task Force, Marcy L. Kahn, Chair

Co-Sponsoring Committees:
Asian Affairs, Dih-Lin Wong, Chair
Council on International Affairs, Mark A. Meyer, Chair
European Affairs, Jonathan Halpern, Chair
Foreign and Comparative Law, Richard H. Langan II, Chair
Independence of Lawyers and Judges Task Force, Christopher Pioch, Chair
International Human Rights, Ramya Jawahar Kudekallu, Chair
International Law, Ulyana Bardyn, Chair
Military and Veterans Affairs, Christopher Amore, Chair
United Nations, Catherine Van Kampen, Sophia Murashkovsky, & Ervin Nina, Co-Chairs

Co-Sponsoring Organization:
Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, Alexander Papachristou, Executive Director