International criminal court to prosecute hacking and cybercrime cases
The International Criminal Court’s lead prosecutor, Karim Khan, has announced that the Hague will investigate and prosecute hacking crimes that violate existing international law. Cyberwar actions can have a significant impact on people’s lives, particularly vulnerable groups. ICC prosecution of hacking and cybercrime is the main breakthrough in international digital governance.
Karim Khan, the lead prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, has announced his intention to investigate and prosecute hacking crimes that violate existing international law. He outlined the ICC’s commitment to investigating cybercrimes in accordance with the Rome Statute, which defines the court’s authority in prosecuting illegal acts, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
Khan emphasised the significant impact of cyberwarfare on people’s lives, particularly when critical infrastructure such as medical facilities and power generation control systems are targeted. He highlighted the need for the ICC to collect and review evidence related to these cybercrimes. cyber actions could potentially constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and/or the crime of aggression, and could be prosecuted if the case is sufficiently grave.
While Khan did not explicitly mention Russia or Ukraine, the announcement’s timing aligns with growing international concerns over Russia’s cyber aggression towards Ukraine. Last year, the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley’s School of Law submitted an Article 15 document to the ICC prosecutor’s office, urging them to consider war crime prosecutions against Russian hackers for their cyberattacks in Ukraine.
Why does it matter?
In summary, the ICC’s lead prosecutor, Karim Khan, has announced the court’s commitment to investigating and prosecuting hacking crimes that violate existing international law. This decision eliminates the need for a separate Geneva Convention for cyberwar. This represents a significant step towards addressing the impact of cyberwarfare and ensuring accountability within the boundaries of existing international law.