Nikola Hajdin

Nikola Hajdin


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Works at Department of Law
Telephone 08-16 13 73
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 C
Room C 532
Postal address Juridiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Nikola is a doctoral candidate in international law at Stockholm University. Currently, he is a fellow at Harvard Law School (Institute for Global Law and Policy). His research focuses on the outer limits of criminal responsibility for international core crimes, more specifically for the crime of aggression. According to the law, only a person that meets the requirement of 'control or direct' in relation to a state policy could be responsible for state aggression. This raises the issue of how to ascribe appropriately criminal responsibility within a vast bureaucratic apparatus (such as state) where the jus ad bellum decisions are normally not vested in a narrow circle of leaders. With his research, Nikola aims to add nuances to the current doctrine of criminal responsibility and propose a theory with respect to the crime of aggression.

Previously, Nikola practiced law in Serbia, Sweden, the Netherlands and France for almost five years in total. Before coming to Stockholm, Nikola was an intern at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In 2015 and 2016, he worked for the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court where he participated as a co-drafter in the project of drafting the Policy on Children. In 2016, he also worked as a Case Reporter for the Oxford Reports on International Law. In 2015, he was a research assistant to Professor John Cerone at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights. From 2014, he published peer-reviewed academic articles in international journals, book chapters, case notes for the Oxford University Press, and a few blogs, all related to the issues in international law.

In 2017, Nikola was a visiting fellow to Professor Claus Kress at the Institute for International Peace and Security Law (Cologne University). In 2015, Nikola was awarded with Master of Laws in International Human Rights Law (Lund University). He defended his master thesis with distinction which led to an article in the International Criminal Law Review. In 2012, he finished his first master’s and defended his thesis on the Right to Liberty and Security of Person (Belgrade University). He obtained his Bachelor of Laws in 2010 (four-year program) at Belgrade University. Nikola teaches international public law, international criminal law, international human rights law and legal English at Stockholm University. Moreover, he regularly teaches at other universities in Sweden. 


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Nikola Hajdin. International Criminal Law Review 17 (3), 543-566

    Since the Nuremberg trials, it has been accepted that only the highest echelon of state leadership can be responsible for the crime of aggression. The crime of aggression is distinguished from other core crimes under the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) purview by, inter alia, its leadership nature. According to Articles 8bis(1) and 25(3bis) of the Rome Statute, only a person ‘in a position effectively to exercise control over or direct the political or military action of a State’ can be held responsible for aggression. The ‘control or direct’ standard was adopted at the first Review Conference of the Rome Statute in Kampala in 2010 and differs from the customary counterpart (‘shape or influence’) established by the Nuremberg Military Tribunal (NMT). This article will explore how the leadership clause has evolved and whether the new standard is more appropriate for the ICC.

  • 2017. Nikola Hajdin. Commentary on the Law of the International Criminal Court, 336-337
  • 2016. Nikola Hajdin.

    This paper focuses on the following question: how can the ICC safeguard against an accused's misuse of the right to self-representation, thus preserving his right to a fair trial, and why such safeguards are needed at the first place?The structure of the article is determined by its aim which is the analysis and application of the right to self-representation. In effect, the first part ponders on the two practical situations where the court is allowed to interfere with the defendant’s rights. If the accused is behaving in a disrupting manner or if the case is ‘highly’ complex, the court should restrain the exclusive self-representation. By acknowledging that the interference could be justifiable, I will then put forward in the following section three possible solutions for the court to react. So to speak, imposing a legal representative is not the only possibility, viz. representation in person could be still allowed, however, with particular modifications. In the last chapter I will question the incentive of the court’s encroachment into the defendant’s rights. I find the notion of justice essential in understanding this issue and therefore I will circle my argument around it. By way of conclusion, I will highlight circumstances and options for the court’s justifiable interference and present the notion of justice — as a value that protects the legitimacy of the court’s proceedings — in the way I see it.

  • 2015. Nikola Hajdin.
  • 2015. Nikola Hajdin.
  • 2015. Nikola Hajdin.
  • 2015. Nikola Hajdin.

    The Nuremberg Charter introduced the crime of aggression into international law. The American Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson gave a famous promise that offenders who commit acts of aggression shall be prosecuted and international criminal law would be applied against them. Notwithstanding the efforts of the United Nations to criminalize aggression, in the period between the Nuremberg trial and the Kampala Conference in 2010 there has not been a universally accepted definition of aggression. Even though the Nuremberg Principles had been recognized and the Tokyo judgment followed the Nuremberg precedent, a universally accepted definition of the ‘supreme crime’ was missing for more than 60 years. One could argue that the Cold War was the main reason for the absence of international follow-up to the criminalization of aggression after 1947; or one may also say that the international community relied on the UN Charter provisions as a trustworthy bulwark against acts of aggression. The definition of ‘act of aggression’ from 1974 could not be labeled as ‘historic’ simply because in reality nothing truly changed. The international tribunals prior to the establishment of the International Criminal Court did not have the crime of aggression in their statutes. In this article the author describes the development of the ‘supreme crime’ specifically after the Nuremberg trial, with a focus on the UN efforts in dealing with acts of aggression. Individual responsibility for the crime of aggression as such is also examined in this ‘vacuum period’ where the international consensus was missing.

Show all publications by Nikola Hajdin at Stockholm University

Last updated: September 5, 2019

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