International Criminal Court impacted by ongoing breach

The International Criminal Court (ICC) says it was hit by hackers last week in an ongoing cyberattack that is still under investigation.

The court says it is still in the process of mitigating and analyzing the breach.

A spokesman for the high-profile international tribunal released a statement about the “cybersecurity incident” on X (formally known as Twitter) Tuesday morning.

“At the end of last week, The ICC’s services detected anomalous activity affecting its information systems,” the statement said.

The ICC, seated in The Hague, Netherlands, said immediate response measures were adopted with “the assistance of Host Country authorities.”

While the investigation and remediation is ongoing, the court said it will be prioritizing “ensuring that the work of the court continues.”

It also said it was taking steps to strengthen its cybersecurity framework, as the institution had already been in the process of “accelerating its use of cloud technology” when the breach took place.

The spokesperson did not mention what information was compromised in the attack or who may be responsible, stating there would be “no further information” regarding the incident at this time.

The ICC prosecutes war crimes

The ICC intergovernmental tribunal was established in 2002 to try war crimes and crimes against humanity. It also holds numerous categories of highly sensitive documents, including evidence of names of protected witnesses.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there has been a push for the ICC not only to try Russia for alleged atrocities in the war-torn country but to consider, for the first time, certain types of cyberattacks as war crimes.

Last month, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan agreed that cyber attacks could be part of future war crimes investigations.

Ironically, Khan also warned against attacks on the ICC and that more security measures needed to be put in place to protect its data.

Besides in Ukraine, the intergovernmental tribunal is currently investigating possible Russian war atrocities in Georgia, and this spring, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on suspicion of illegally deporting children from Ukraine.

Additionally, the Dutch intelligence agency (AIVD) said last June it discovered a Russian military agent trying to infiltrate the institution using a fake Brazilian identity.

Those claims, as well as the authority of the ICC have been denounced by Russian officials.

Other unrelated ICC war crimes investigations are happening in Uganda, Venezuela, Afghanistan, and the Philippines, while an investigation into US crimes in Afghanistan was controversially shelved after heavy US pressure against the court – whose jurisdiction the US does not recognize – and the imposition of sanctions against its officials.

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