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Nikola Hajdin

About me

Dr Nikola R. Hajdin is lecturer in law at Stockholm University. Begining in September 2022, he will be a fellow at Oxford Law School. Dr Hajdin holds a PhD degree from Stockholm University, an LLM from Lund University, and LLM and LLB degrees from the University of Belgrade. His research interest lies in general theory of criminal law, international criminal law, and the intersection of neuroscience, philosophy, and criminal law. Dr Hajdin's doctoral thesis was on the theory of leadership responsibility and attribution of modes of liability for the crime of aggression and was published by Stockholm University. 

During his doctoral program, Dr Hajdin was a visiting researcher/fellow at Harvard Law School and Cambridge Law School (Lauterpacht Centre for International Law). Prior coming to academia, he practiced law in Serbia, Sweden, the Netherlands and France for almost five years in total. In 2016, he 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 co-drafted 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. 

Since 2014, he has 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 of international law. His work has been published in, amongst others, the Leiden Journal of International Law and the International Criminal Law Review. Dr Hajdin teaches international public law, international criminal law, international human rights law and legal English at Stockholm University. He also regularly teaches at other universities in Sweden. 

Publications available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=2477214

Link for Dr Hajdin's PhD defense: https://www.scilj.se/defence-of-nikola-hajdin-on-phd-thesis-individual-responsibility-for-the-crime-of-aggression/

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • The Nature of Leadership in the Crime of Aggression

    2017. Nikola Hajdin. International Criminal Law Review 17 (3), 543-566

    Article

    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.

    Read more about The Nature of Leadership in the Crime of Aggression
  • Self-Representation before the International Criminal Court

    2016. Nikola Hajdin.

    Report

    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.

    Read more about Self-Representation before the International Criminal Court
  • Prosecutor v Germain Katanga, Decision on the admissibility of the appeal against the ‘Decision on the application for the interim release of detained Witnesses DRC-D02-P0236, DRC-D02-P0228 and DRC-D02-P0350’, Case no ICC-01/04-01/07-3424; ICL 1588 (ICC 2014)

    2015. Nikola Hajdin.

    Other
    Read more about Prosecutor v Germain Katanga, Decision on the admissibility of the appeal against the ‘Decision on the application for the interim release of detained Witnesses DRC-D02-P0236, DRC-D02-P0228 and DRC-D02-P0350’, Case no ICC-01/04-01/07-3424; ICL 1588 (ICC 2014)
  • Prosecutor v Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidéle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido, Decision on the requests for the Disqualification of the Prosecutor, the Deputy Prosecutor and the entire OTP staff, Case no ICC-01/05-01/13 OA; ICL 1672 (ICC 2014)

    2015. Nikola Hajdin.

    Other
    Read more about Prosecutor v Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidéle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido, Decision on the requests for the Disqualification of the Prosecutor, the Deputy Prosecutor and the entire OTP staff, Case no ICC-01/05-01/13 OA; ICL 1672 (ICC 2014)
  • Prosecutor v Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidéle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido, Decision on ‘Prosecution Submission of Evidence Pursuant to Rule 68(2)(c) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence’, Case no ICC-01/05-01/13; ICL 1677 (ICC 2015)

    2015. Nikola Hajdin.

    Other
    Read more about Prosecutor v Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidéle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido, Decision on ‘Prosecution Submission of Evidence Pursuant to Rule 68(2)(c) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence’, Case no ICC-01/05-01/13; ICL 1677 (ICC 2015)
  • Understanding Aggression

    2015. Nikola Hajdin.

    Report

    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.

    Read more about Understanding Aggression
  • The actus reus of the crime of aggression

    2021. Nikola Hajdin. Leiden Journal of International Law 34 (2), 489-504

    Article

    To adjudicate a claim on individual criminal responsibility, the court has to establish objective and subjective links between the individual and the crime. This article studies the material (actus reus/objective) elements of the crime of aggression (conduct, consequence and circumstance) and suggests a reading that solves most of the conceptual and practical issues regarding criminal responsibility for this crime. The main contribution is an ontological distinction between the material act of use of violence and the act of aggression, which are both subsumed under the term ‘state/collective act’. The former is a consequence element and therefore is to be understood in its naturalistic meaning – a perceivable result of one’s action. The latter is a legal-evaluative notion and as such constitutes a circumstance that renders the violation of the prohibitory norm (the union of conduct and consequence) as being wrongful. This distinction is crucial for the system of attribution of criminal responsibility, as different mental (subjective) elements apply to consequences and circumstances.

    Read more about The actus reus of the crime of aggression
  • Individual Responsibility for the Crime of Aggression

    2021. Nikola R. Hajdin.

    Thesis (Doc)

    This thesis examines the attribution of criminal responsibility for the crime of aggression in international criminal law. Prosecuting aggression is predicated by the so-called leadership clause—an individual can be held responsible only if he or she meets the requirement of being in a position of control over or to direct state action. This ‘control or direct’ clause—which replaced the ‘shape or influence’ standard that was applied in Nuremberg—is based on a simple normative premise: individual responsibility ought to be restricted to state leaders and exclude followers. This work argues that the notion of leadership in this context denotes a normative determination that the individual had a decisive influence over the state policy on using armed force. To make such a normative determination, the inquiry needs to include the power dynamics of the given state so as to properly comprehend which structures of power govern state policies. This argument is built on the basis of the conceptual structure of the definition of the crime of aggression and an analysis of relevant case law and international documents. To this end, the thesis constructs a conceptual framework that provides for general conditions for criminal responsibility based on the material (actus reus) and mental (mens rea) elements of the crime of aggression. Against this background, the work critically appraises perpetration and complicity and concludes that individual conduct that, at the very least, significantly affects the state act of the use of armed force is the kind of behaviour prohibited by the crime of aggression.

    Read more about Individual Responsibility for the Crime of Aggression

Show all publications by Nikola Hajdin at Stockholm University