The War in Ukraine and the Legitimacy of the International Criminal Court

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Just Security


International Criminal Court (ICC), Ukraine, Russia, atrocities


By unprecedented funding and other support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) since Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, many States have shown that they recognize the important role that the Court can play in providing accountability for actions that have not only endangered Ukrainians, but also the world at large. Although the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a devastating development, it has been encouraging to note the number of States – including some previously skeptical of or hostile to the Court – that have responded with financial and other support that may allow the ICC to fulfill its mandate and provide justice to victims. This support has the potential to lead to a “virtuous cycle” in which improved access to resources leads to public successes for the Court, thereby increasing its perceived legitimacy with States. Conversely, if States fail to sustain this support, these important outcomes for the Court and for the victims of atrocities may be lost, raising the risk that the Court’s public legitimacy may sink lower than it was before the invasion.


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