International Humanitarian Law

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The Prosecution of British Fighters by Pro-Russian Separatists in Ukraine

A court of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) announced last Thursday that two British nationals, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner (as well as Saadoun Brahim, a Moroccan national), who fought on behalf of Ukraine and surrendered during the siege of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, have been handed a death sentence. This came just two days after the opening of the trial was reported, at which the defendants stood accused of: committing a crime as part of a criminal group; participation of a mercenary in an armed conflict or hostilities; violent seizure of power or violent retention of power; and training for the purpose of carrying out terrorist activities. These crimes were charged under the DPR’s Criminal Code, which the Russian-backed separatist region first adopted in 2014. The trial (and sentence) are concerning both with regard to the status to which the defendants are entitled under international humanitarian law (IHL) and the compatibility of the trial with the rights and obligations that flow from…

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The Human Right to Food, Freedom from Hunger, and SDG 2: Global Food Crisis and Starvation Tactics from the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Much has been written and reported in the past 100 days since the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine, regarding all manner of mass atrocity crimes, continuing egregious human rights violations, war crimes and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and other sources of international humanitarian law.  In February, I wrote about international law duties…

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The United States and Allies Sharing Intelligence with Ukraine

A remarkable feature of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian conflict is the strategic and tactical role played by the sharing of intelligence between the US (and other Western allies) and Ukraine. That intelligence sharing started even before the war, in support of claims made publicly and privately about an imminent Russian attack against Ukraine (on which see more…

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Violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Committed in Ukraine since 24 February 2022: Summary of the Report by a Mission of Experts under the OSCE Moscow Mechanism

On 13 April 2022, we presented the report of our mission on Ukraine to a special session of the Permanent Council of OSCE. Based on this presentation, the following contribution summarizes the establishment and mandate, methodology and findings of our 94 pages Report. Establishment and mandate On 3 March 2022, Ukraine,…

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Legal Implications of the Military Operations at the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plants

With the seizure of the Ukrainian Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plants by Russian armed forces on 24 February and 4 March, Europe has once again become haunted by the spectre of radioactive contamination. On 31 March, Ukraine notified the IAEA that while Russian forces maintain uninterrupted control of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, they…

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