Cleveringa Lecture Vienna 2022


Prof Niels Blokker (Univ. Leiden): A tribunal for aggression against Ukraine: moral-legal imperative or ‘science fiction’?

On 26 November 1940, at a time when the Netherlands was under Nazi occupation, Dean Cleveringa of the Leiden Law Faculty spoke out against the occupiers’ order to dismiss Jewish professors from Leiden University. His courageous protest is commemorated in ‘Cleveringa lectures’ that are organized each year around the end of November all over the world, devoted to themes such as Zivilcourage, the rule of law, international peace and security, human rights and criminal justice.

This Cleveringa Lecture in Vienna will discuss the proposal to establish a tribunal for aggression against Ukraine. Following WW II and the judgments of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals, it has taken many years before the time was ripe to establish the International Criminal Court. But when this happened, in 1998, the Court was still incomplete. At the time, no agreement could be reached on the crime of aggression, even though the Nuremberg Tribunal had referred to it as “the supreme international crime”. It took until 2010 to reach agreement on the crime of aggression. However, currently the ICC cannot prosecute the crime of aggression against Ukraine. Is the establishment of a special aggression tribunal a viable alternative? A more general theme of the lecture will be the role played by individuals and the relevance of international institutions.

Britta Zöchling-Jud

August Reinisch

Miloš Vec