Expert in international law: Russia is leading an outrageous aggression – World – News

We still cannot say whether anyone is being charged with war crimes at any time in connection with the war in Ukraine. It will depend on many things. And it can also be a counterproductive step. But at the very least, it is an indication that perhaps the international community, or at least some of its members, no longer wants to suffer from leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin, “said Paola Gaeta, a professor of international law at the prestigious Geneva Institute for International and Development Studies. .

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Demonstration against the Russian war in Ukraine in Cologne, Germany. The protester has a poster written: Putin, we see St. Hague.

How can Russia’s war against Ukraine be perceived through the perspective of international law?

It’s aggression. It is a fierce aggression that we have not seen since Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The UN Charter clearly forbids one state from fighting against another in order to occupy and control it. It has been a fundamental principle of international relations since 1928, since the Briand-Kellogg Pact. It prohibits war as a means of resolving disputes. Of course, the invaded country has the right to defend itself. He can use force against the aggressor. As we see it. Russia has attacked and Ukraine is defending itself. And other Kiev countries can help, although it is not clear from international law that they must do so. Russia is seeking to justify its aggression and the use of force against Ukraine by claiming that Kiev is committing genocide.

Which is, of course, Kremlin propaganda. But theoretically, imagine that Vladimir Putin’s regime really does believe what it claims. How should Russia behave under this under international law?

Russia spoke of genocide and massive human rights violations by Ukraine at UN Security Council meetings. These are, of course, ridiculous statements. In addition, Russia’s position in the past was that a Security Council resolution was needed to use force to stop the genocide. Moscow has rejected the principle of responsibility to protect, which the Western powers in particular are talking about. Now, however, Russia has no resolutions, but a war has begun. Let’s imagine that someone in Ukraine really does commit genocide. In that case, Russia had to provide evidence and ask the UN Security Council for sanctions against Kiev and military intervention.

You have likened Russia’s actions to the Iraq war against Kuwait. What about the US invasion of Iraq in 2003?

This is another case. But still, it wasn’t as striking as what’s happening now. The second Iraq war began, among other things, on the grounds that the United States and Britain argued that they had the consent of the UN Security Council. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, the war was followed by a United Nations Security Council resolution. She was quite vague. Iraq was to be demilitarized. The US has argued, and we can probably only consider this, a pretext that Baghdad has weapons of mass destruction, ie it does not comply with UNSC resolutions. Therefore, it is possible to use force against him. The case of Iraq is a little less clear than Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Kiev turned to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for Moscow’s claim about genocide. Could it help him?

The ICJ resolves disputes between states and Ukraine has also turned to the European Court of Human Rights. He has already ordered Russia, as a precautionary measure, to stop attacks on civilians and civilian objects. What Ukraine did in connection with the ICJ was a very intelligent legal step. Kiev claims that Moscow is manipulating the concept of genocide. In principle, Ukraine asks the ICJ to say that the Kremlin is making it up, while claiming that it is Russia that is now committing genocide. Court action will not stop the war, but Ukraine can claim to have international law on its side. And maybe it will also signal to Russian citizens that their country is doing something illegal, that it is on the wrong side of history.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor in The Hague, Karim Khan, has announced that he will begin investigating what is happening in Ukraine. What may be the next steps in this case?

Lithuania has requested the opening of an investigative process (joined by 38 countries, including Slovakia, ed. Note), which will speed it up a bit. If it was only a prosecutor’s initiative, he would have to wait for the ICC judges’ decision for final approval. If the state has requested it, it is not necessary. I think this is really very important. There also appears to be a political will to support the prosecutor’s investigation. Of course, we still cannot say whether anyone is being charged with war crimes at any time in connection with the war in Ukraine. It will depend on many things. At some point, this may even become a problem in possible peace negotiations. If the ICC prosecutor deals with what happens to Putin or his ministers, it can make negotiations with the Kremlin more difficult. Russia may request that the investigation not be continued. So, in a sense, engaging the ICC can be counterproductive. But at the very least, it is an indication that perhaps the international community, or at least some of its members, no longer wants to suffer from leaders like Putin.

Human rights organizations have criticized Russia for the alleged use of cluster bombs and demanded that it end this. However, Moscow has not joined the agreement to ban them. What does it mean?

In general, since Russia has not acceded to the agreement (nor Ukraine, ed. Note) to ban them, it can use them. In the case of weapons, their use may be legal, but it depends on where and against whom the warring party deploys them. This also applies to cluster munitions. It is usually not used on the battlefield, but in cities. This can then lead to the intervention of civilian targets and, in addition, is very difficult to remove. In this sense, its use is illegal.

Videos of Russian prisoners with their statements spread by the Ukrainian side appeared. Is this a violation of the Geneva Conventions?

Prisoners of war should not be shown to the public and used for propaganda purposes. It is a violation of the third of the Geneva Conventions, but it does not mean that it is a war crime. Even in conflict, we should distinguish between violations of the law and violations of the law, which is a war crime.

Would you recommend Ukraine not to publish videos of prisoners?

Yes. That would be better, and it is right to respect the dignity of prisoners of war. When the United States captured dictator Saddam Hussein in Iraq, it showed him to the world. It was worse than what is happening now, it wasn’t right and we shouldn’t do this to people. I know that Ukraine is at war, but it is trying in particular to show Europe that it adheres to legal principles, so it should not use prisoners for propaganda purposes.


Source: Pravda – Správy by spravy.pravda.sk.

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