Three Posts on Articles of War on Current IHL Issues Regarding Russia and Ukraine

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This is just a brief post to flag for readers who might be interested a series of essays that Mike Schmitt and I have done over on Articles of War, dealing with some of the most pressing issues of international humanitarian law arising in the Russia/Ukraine conflict over the past couple of weeks.

First, Mike and I jointly did a post on the attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge, in which we argue that – on the assumption that Ukraine was responsible for this attack – the bridge was a lawful military objective, and the attack complied with the principles of proportionality and precaution. The only possible exception to this analysis is if, on the assumption that the bridge was attacked using a truck bomb, the driver of the truck was an unwitting tool of Ukrainian agents. If such was the case his killing violated both IHL and human rights law, even though the attack on the bridge itself remained lawful. By contrast, Russia’s retaliatory strikes across Ukraine generally violate the targeting rules of IHL, and in particular cannot be justified as a reprisal.

Second, I wrote a post on Iranian complicity in Russia’s internationally wrongful conduct in Ukraine through the provision of so-called ‘kamikaze drones’ to Russia, thereby assisting the commission of aggression and violations of IHL. In the post I examine in detail why Iran’s assistance satisfies the culpability requirements for state responsibility for complicity under both general international law and IHL.

Finally, Mike wrote a post on the IHL rules governing the targeting of power plants and other electrical infrastructure. Mike explains that such infracture can generally be regarded as a military objective (albeit with some nuance) and extensively analyses the proportionality implications of attacking such objectives.

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