Dutch Intelligence Caught Russian Spy Infiltrating War Crimes Tribunal


A Dutch intelligence agency says it foiled a Russian attempt to implant a spy at the International Criminal Court who was trying to impersonate a Brazilian intern to get information about the court’s investigation into the Russia attack against Ukraine.


The General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands, or AVID, said in a statement that a Russian intelligence officer named Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov had scheduled an internship at the ICC under the false identity of a Brazilian citizen known as the name of Viktor Muller Ferreira.

Cherkasov was refused entry to the Netherlands in April and was deported back to Brazil, AVID said.

Had he managed to start an internship at the ICC, Cherkasov would have had access to the organization’s building and digital systems and could even have recruited sources and influenced criminal proceedings, AVID said.

Key context

The ICC is investigating possible war crimes, such as crimes against humanity and genocide, committed by Russia during its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan launched the investigation in March after receiving support from 39 countries, not including the United States, which does not officially recognize the ICC.

Surprising fact:

AVID released Cherkasov’s elaborate cover story, which detailed family and financial issues and even visits to a club that played electronic dance music. The organization said it would likely take years to create such cover identities.

Further reading

ICC’s top prosecutor visits Bucha as court investigates war crimes in Ukraine (Forbes)

A Russian spy tried to infiltrate a war crimes tribunal, according to Dutch authorities (The Washington Post)

Dutch spies foil Russian plot to infiltrate war crimes tribunal (Bloomberg)

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Post expires at 10:59pm on Monday June 27th, 2022