International Criminal Court computer systems attacked

International Criminal Court

This article was last updated on September 20, 2023

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Investigation underway after cyber attack on International Criminal Court in The Hague

The International Criminal Court in The Hague fell victim to a cyber attack last week, raising concerns about the security of sensitive information held by the court. The attack, the extent of which has not been confirmed, is currently under investigation in collaboration with Dutch authorities. It is yet to be determined whether a foreign government is behind the attack.

Information breach suspected

Although the International Criminal Court (ICC) has not publicly acknowledged the nature and size of the attack, insiders have revealed to NOS that a substantial number of sensitive documents have potentially been compromised. The ICC, responsible for investigating genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, handles highly sensitive information, including details about ongoing investigations and identities of witnesses.

Collaborative investigation

The ICC is working alongside the Dutch authorities to investigate the recent cyber attack. Given the sensitive nature of the information at stake, cooperation between national and international agencies is crucial. The investigation aims to identify the attackers’ motives and the extent of the data breach. Additionally, efforts will be made to determine whether the attack was state-sponsored.

Threats to justice and security

The attack on the ICC’s computer systems raises serious concerns about the security and integrity of justice systems worldwide. The potential compromise of sensitive information not only jeopardizes ongoing investigations but also poses grave risks to witnesses, who may face threats or intimidation from those implicated in the crimes under investigation.

Importance of cybersecurity for international institutions

The cyber attack on the International Criminal Court underscores the urgent need for international institutions to prioritize and invest in robust cybersecurity measures. With the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, organizations that handle sensitive information must remain vigilant and continually update their security protocols.

Securing sensitive data

International organizations dealing with confidential and sensitive data, such as the ICC, must adopt comprehensive security systems to protect against cyber attacks. These systems should include advanced firewalls, encryption technologies, regular security audits, and employee training on recognizing and mitigating potential threats.

International cooperation

Cyber attacks on international institutions require a concerted global response. Governments and international organizations must collaborate and share best practices to combat cyber threats effectively. The sharing of threat intelligence, active monitoring of potential vulnerabilities, and swift incident response will help to reduce the risks posed by cyber attacks.

Building resilience against cyber threats

Cybersecurity experts emphasize the importance of organizations developing a proactive cyber defense strategy to prevent and mitigate attacks. This strategy should involve continuous monitoring, regular vulnerability assessments, and the implementation of early warning systems.

Implications for ongoing investigations

With the potential compromise of sensitive information, the recent cyber attack on the ICC may have serious implications for ongoing investigations. Suspects, if aware of their investigations, could take measures to obstruct justice or destroy evidence.

Protection of witnesses

The confidentiality of witness identities is of utmost importance in ensuring their safety and security. Any breach of witness information, particularly in cases involving war crimes and crimes against humanity, poses a significant risk to the individuals involved. It is essential for the ICC to reassess its security measures to safeguard witnesses’ identities.

Reinforcing global cooperation

Given the global nature of cyber attacks, international cooperation is crucial in combating cybercrime effectively. Sharing cybersecurity knowledge and expertise between countries will help strengthen the resilience of international justice systems and ensure the protection of important and sensitive data.


The cyber attack on the International Criminal Court highlights the vulnerabilities faced by international institutions in this digitally interconnected world. It serves as a reminder of the urgent need for enhanced cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive information and ensure the integrity of justice systems. The incident also emphasizes the importance of international cooperation in countering cyber threats and safeguarding global security.

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