On Monday, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra organised a meeting of EU foreign ministers with Mr Karim Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. At the meeting Mr Khan informed ministers about the progress being made in the ICC’s investigation into war crimes in Ukraine. The meeting took place in Luxembourg prior to the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
Mr Hoekstra organised the meeting because the Netherlands considers that the ICC has a major role to play in prosecuting the perpetrators of war crimes in Ukraine. The Netherlands wants to see justice for all the victims of Russia’s invasion.
The war in Ukraine will mean a substantial rise in the number of cases at the ICC and its current budget will no longer be sufficient for the years ahead. During the meeting Mr Hoekstra emphasised the importance of the ICC’s efforts to combat impunity worldwide and called on EU ministers to jointly take the lead in ensuring that it has the necessary funding. ‘The work of the ICC is one of the main processes for achieving justice for the people of Ukraine’, the minister said.
Mr Hoekstra pledged an extra Dutch contribution of €1 million to the ICC in order to support its investigation and prosecution activities.
Netherlands committed to establishing an anti-corruption court
On Monday Mr Hoekstra also cited the deeper underlying causes of the conflict including flagrant corruption, which constitutes the economic bedrock of an autocratic and repressive system in Russia that is now acting aggressively beyond its own borders. This poses a threat to the prosperity, stability and security of the entire region.
In order to curb large-scale corruption of this nature, the Netherlands wants to work with like-minded countries to establish an international anti-corruption court.
Mr Hoekstra said: ‘Corruption among public officials isn’t just a financial problem; it also undermines democracy and the rule of law in a country and exacerbates inequality among its people. And of course it’s a form of criminality. Not only does the country itself suffer, but other countries’ interests are harmed too. By establishing an anti-corruption court the Netherlands aims to strengthen the international legal order. But to make this happen we will need the support of many other countries.’
Establishing an anti-corruption court will be a long-term endeavour and require broad support within the international community. The Netherlands is therefore going to work with like-minded countries to explore how such a court could take shape and to build international support. To this end, the Netherlands, Canada, Ecuador and other partners will be holding a ministerial conference this autumn on the subject of international efforts to tackle corruption.