Kyryl Savin / Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung>
27 March 2023
Discover our resources and what our experts and alumni say about the situation in Ukraine, with regular updates to include new events, articles, podcasts and comments.
Along with 23 governments, the Geneva Academy – via its IHL-EP – requested to intervene as a third party in the proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concerning the case of Ukraine v. Russia (X) (application no. 11055/22).
This inter-State case concerns the Ukrainian Government’s allegations of mass and gross human rights violations committed by the Russian Federation in its military operations on the territory of Ukraine since 24 February 2022.
In this request, the Geneva Academy offered to provide an informed and balanced analysis of several, crucial issues raised by that case. These include the extra-territorial application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the attribution of conduct and its interaction with the questions of establishing jurisdiction and classifying armed conflicts, the relationship between the ECHR and the international legal prohibition on the threat or use of force, and the interplay between the ECHR and international humanitarian law (IHL).
This endeavour forms part of the Geneva Academy IHL Expert Pool: by participating in court proceedings such as this, and delivering rigorous and neutral advice on questions pertaining to the interplay between IHL and human rights law, this IHL Expert Pool works to enhance the legal protection afforded victims of armed conflict.
The Geneva Academy is hosting during a year Dr Nataliia Hendel, a Professor of international law at the International Humanitarian University in Odesa, Ukraine, and an expert in international humanitarian law (IHL).
Dr Hendel, who fled the conflict in Ukraine, joined the Geneva Academy as a Researcher back in September 2022 under the Programme Scholars at Risk, with funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF).
Dr Hendel will pursue her research on the protection of the environment during armed conflicts – with a focus on Ukraine – during her time at the Geneva Academy.
‘I am very grateful to the Geneva Academy for hosting me during these difficult times and for welcoming the Ukrainian experience, understanding and practice in IHL’ says Dr Nataliia Hendel.
UN Women/Aurel Obreja>
This IHL Talk addressed some of the legal issues stemming from the current armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Panelists notably discussed the humanitarian impact of unilateral sanctions and challenges raised by the use of force against Ukraine, with a particular focus on the justifications provided by Russia. They also analyzed the conflict from an international humanitarian law perspective, focusing on instances of clear violations and more controversial ones.
Alexander Jawfox, Unsplash>
This IHL Talk aimed at clarifying the relevant frameworks of responsibility for the crimes committed by the Wagner troops. Panelists notably addressed the following questions:
This IHL Talk discussed nuclear weapons, their humanitarian impact, the impact of technological advancements, the relevance of the deterrence narrative and implications on the international legal framework.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered heated debate on whether the international community should strive for the establishment of a 'Special Tribunal for Aggression'.
This upcoming IHL Talk will explore various issues related to the potential establishment of a 'Special Tribunal for Aggression' and will discuss whether such a special tribunal is the best or at least the most appropriate option to make sure that the crime of aggression does not go unpunished.
The Geneva Academy is a member, via our two parent institutions, of swissuniversities, the umbrella organisation of the Swiss universities.
On 27 February 2022, swissuniversities strongly condemned Russia's intervention in Ukraine as a violation of international law.
OSCE mission to investigate violations of IHL and international human rights law in Ukraine
International Legal Working Group on Accountability for International Crimes Committed in Ukraine
State Emergency Service of Ukraine via Wikimedia Commons>
Online Discussion: The OSCE Moscow Mechanism report on violations of International Law committed following Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: Mariana Katzarova, an alumna of our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict and the Founder and Chair of RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in War) participated, in this oline discussion along with our two faculty members Professors Marco Sassòli and Andrew Clapham (16 May 2022).
We are constantly updating our Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) online portal and its entries related to the crisis: the international armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the non-international armed conflicts in Eastern Ukraine with the self-proclaimed ‘People’s Republics’ of Donetsk and Luhansk. RULAC also provides information about the military occupation of Crimea by Russia since July 2014.
These entries and RULAC also provide information on classification and applicable international law, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international criminal law.
Cyber attacks form an integral part of the current armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
Our projects on the digitalization of conflict address some of the main issues of contention concerning the application of international law, including IHL and international human rights law, to military cyber operations with notably three papers:
The Guidelines on Investigating Violations of International Humanitarian Law: Law, Policy and Good Practice – co-published with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – provide key guidance to states aiming to conduct investigations of IHL violations, but also to other bodies and individuals seeking a more detailed understanding of investigations in armed conflict.
This document – the first of its kind – is notably available in Russian and Ukrainian.
Our research on disability and armed conflict highlighted the devastating impact conflict has on persons with disabilities and that many of the key IHL provisions that serve to minimize the impact of armed conflict – such as the proportionality assessment and advanced effective warnings – are not being applied in a disability inclusive manner, resulting in persons with disabilities being killed, seriously injured or left behind as families flee armed attacks.
Building on this research and its recommendations, our Military Briefing: Persons with Disabilities and Armed Conflict provides guidance to the armed forces on how to integrate a disability perspective into military manuals and the training of their militaries. This paper offers a number of concrete recommendations on specific areas, showing the possibility to integrate a disability perspective into military manuals and military operations.
For example, it details the meaning of ‘accessible warnings’ to persons in the vicinity of armed attacks, and sets our feasible measures regarding the treatment of prisoners of war with disability, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
2023 will be a busy year for us. Discover what we are up to and some topical issues we will address and work on via our research, Geneva Human Rights Platform and master’s programmes.
Dr Yosuke Nagai is the founder and CEO of Accept International, which works on de-radicalization and reintegration for defectors and prisoners formerly involved with violent extremist groups. He just started as Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy and will stay with us until the end of March.
This IHL Talk will explore various issues related to the potential establishment of a 'Special Tribunal for Aggression' and will discuss whether it is the best or most appropriate option to make sure that the crime of aggression does not go unpunished.
In this lecture organized with the MIDS, Professor Chiara Giorgetti will discuss current efforts to create a reparation mechanism for Ukraine in order to hold Russia liable for its violations of international law.
This online short course provides an overview of the content and evolution of the rules governing the use of unilateral force in international law, including military intervention on humanitarian grounds and the fight against international terrorism. It focuses on the practice of states and international organizations.
This online short course discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.
This project facilitated a multistakeholder consultative process to identify knowledge gaps, generate new evidence and co-design evidence-based tools to support regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.
The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.