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The European Union’s Sanctioning of Russian Military Officers: An Urge for Caution

Introduction As of 21 July 2022, the European Union (EU) has adopted seven rounds of restrictive measures (commonly referred to as ‘sanctions’) against the Russian Federation following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The latest two rounds (adopted on 3 June and 21 July 2022, respectively) – in addition to containing measures aimed at harming Russia’s economy – target certain Russian military officers with asset freezes and EU entry bans. Notably, those listed on 3 June were described by the European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen as ‘high-ranking military officers and other individuals who committed war crimes in Bucha and who are responsible for the inhuman siege of the city of Mariupol’. Notwithstanding the abundance of evidence indicating the perpetration of international crimes by Russian forces in Bucha, Mariupol (at p. 36) and elsewhere, the sanctions’ assertion of international criminal responsibility prior to any judicial process for many of those listed is problematic from the perspective of international law. Following an analysis…

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Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and the Idealised Symbolism of Nuremberg

The Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (IMT) has a very strong symbolic standing for all post-Soviet nations and especially for Russia. Nuances, complexities and shortcomings are inherent to the IMT legacy. However, in Ukraine, Russia and the wider region, a Nuremberg reference will almost always have the connotation of paramount justice and the victory of the ultimate good…

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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…

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Ukrainian Prosecution of ICC Statute Crimes: Fair, Independent and Impartial?

In view of the widespread euphoria about Ukraine’s admirable defensive struggle against the Russian war of aggression, it is easy to forget that until a few months ago Ukraine was still considered a problematic case in terms of the rule of law. Not only was the fight against corruption promised by President Zelenskyy considered insufficient, but classic deficits…

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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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