Ukraine

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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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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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Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Women in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

In April 2022, it was reported that Ukrainian law enforcement intercepted a phone call between a Russian soldier and his wife. In the phone call, they joked about the soldier raping Ukrainian women. His wife told him, “Yes, I allow it. Just wear protection”. The shockingly cavalier attitude of these two young Russian people towards rape emanates…

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Mass Intervention?: The Joint Statement of 41 States on Ukraine v. Russia

On 20 May 2022, 41 states and the EU issued a Joint Statement regarding the pending ICJ proceedings in Ukraine v. Russia. The Joint Statement indicates that the signatories agree “to explore all options to support Ukraine in its efforts before the ICJ and to consider a possible intervention in these proceedings”. One of the signatories, Romania, had…

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