(NewsGlobal.com)- A Russian military agent was caught attempting to spy on the International Criminal Court (ICC) as the court investigates Russia’s possible war crimes after its invasion into Ukraine, according to the Dutch intelligence service.
Reuters reports that the agent was Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, whose alias was allegedly Viktor Muller. Cherkasov invented a fake identity and cover story in order to conceal his ties to the Kremlin. His story was that he was a Brazilian national seeking entry into the Netherlands for an internship at the court based in Hague, the seat of government in the Netherlands.
This was reportedly an expensive operation by Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency, commonly known as GRU, according to the head of the Dutch agency.
“This was a long-term, multi-year GRU operation that cost a lot of time, energy and money,” the agency’s chief, Erik Akerboom, told Reuters.
Akerboom added that Cherkasov was accepted for the internship at the ICC before the Dutch intelligence agency released a detailed report on the spy, detailing his cover up story and other information. ICC spokesperson, Sonia Robla, expressed her thanks to the agency for exposing the threat.
The spy was picked up at a Dutch airport, declared an undesirable and was flown back to Brazil where he awaits court proceedings, according to a statement by the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD). Brazilian authorities have not yet commented.
This is not the first time the Dutch have expelled persons accused of being spies. Over the last few years more than 20 accused Russians have been expelled from the country, prompting Russia to retaliate and recently kick out 15 Dutch embassy and consulate staff from Moscow and St. Petersburg. Russia denied the allegations, calling the accusations Western smear campaigns against the country.
The ICC is a judicial body that investigates and prosecutes individuals for genocide, war crimes, and other heinous offenses when national courts do not. The court is composed of 123 member states, excluding China, Russia, and the United States. The U.S. has argued that participating in the court would limit the nation’s sovereignty.