Declaration of the Executive Board of the ESC concerning the war in Ukraine, 21 April 2022

Marcelo Aebi

Marcelo Aebi

Executive Secretary of the ESC


As European criminologists, we focus and report on (international) crimes and injustices: their prevalence, aetiology, prevention, consequences for victims and societies, and on responses to them. We condemn such atrocities and injustices and also those who commit them or take advantage of conflict situations to restrict fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Consequently, the Executive Board of the European Society of Criminology declares its utmost concern at Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. While the war in Ukraine is not the only current conflict in the world in which civilians suffer and struggle, it touches our academic Society in two particular ways. First, we are a criminological Society and there are strong indications that atrocities — which might constitute international crimes — are being committed, leading to widespread victimisation. These include war crimes, such as killings and intentional attacks against the civilian population, and crimes against humanity, such as the forcible transfer of populations and sexual violence. The war is forcing millions of people to leave their livelihoods and all their material possessions and to become refugees. Second, Ukraine is a European country. The fact that an aggressive war is waged on European soil renders attention to such atrocities particularly pressing for us as a Society.

While we do not know at this moment how the conflict will develop or how long it will last, the ESC Executive Board has made the following decisions:

  • First, within our fellowship program to attend the annual conference of the ESC, we will give precedence to colleagues affected by the war in Ukraine. We will increase the number of these fellowships and extend the deadline for application for a fellowship for these colleagues until 1st June 2022;
  • Second, we will, in close collaboration with our working group ECACTJ (European Criminology Group on Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice) organise a number of sessions at the ESC annual conference in Malaga (Eurocrim 2022) that will be devoted to the Ukrainian situation specifically, to the criminology of international crimes in a more generic sense, and to justice responses in general;
  • Third, together with the local organisers of Eurocrim 2022, we are preparing a plenary in Malaga that will be devoted to international crimes and criminology;
  • Fourth, the European Journal of Criminology, which serves as a forum for high-quality scholarship on these among many other topics the discipline addresses, is exploring, together with SAGE Publications, a number of possibilities to give scholarly attention to the conflict in Ukraine. These include the organisation of a special issue or the identification of key papers which could be offered free of charge. The Journal is considerate of any impact on the publication process for authors, reviewers, etc. affected by the war.

Finally, the Executive Board wishes to stress that the European Society of Criminology continues to welcome to its conferences and any activities all scholars, irrespective of their nationality or background, who accept the values the Society ascribes to, as laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights and other key Council of Europe Conventions and Recommendations.