Month: June 2022

Dutch General Intelligence & Security Service (AIVD) disrupts activities of Russian intelligence officer targeting the International Criminal Court

On June 16, the Dutch General Intelligence & Security Service (AIVD) announced that they prevented a Russian military intelligence officer from gaining access as an intern to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The ICC is of interest to the GRU because it investigates possible war crimes committed by Russia in Georgia (2008) and Ukraine.

The GRU officer traveled from Brazil to the Netherlands in April 2022 using a cover identity, making him a so-called “illegal”. He planned to start an internship with the ICC, which would have given him access to the ICC’s building and systems. This would have enabled the GRU to collect intelligence, spot and recruit sources, and possibly influence criminal proceedings.

On his arrival at Schiphol Airport, the AIVD informed the Immigration & Naturalization Service (IND), after which the officer was refused entry to the Netherlands and put on the first plane back to Brazil as persona non grata.

The AIVD assessed the officer as a “potentially very serious” threat to both national security and the security of the ICC as well as, due to the outlook of him acquiring access to the ICC, allies.

In a first-ever for the AIVD, it also released translations of a partially redacted 4-page document that describes the “extensive and complex” cover identity of the officer. It was originally written in Portuguese, “probably created around mid-2010” and “likely written” by the officer himself, and according to the AIVD provides insight into his modus operandi. The cover identity hid any and all links between him and Russia. According to the AIVD, the construction of this kind of cover identity “generally takes years to complete”.

In the note accompanying the document, the AIVD says that Russian intelligence services “spend years” on the construction of cover identities for illegals, to which end they “collect information on how other countries register and store personal data”, or illegally procure or forge identity documents. Information in the cover identity “can therefore be traceable to one or more actual persons, living or dead” as well as to (fake) individuals “who only exist on paper or in registries of local authorities”.