Ukrainian IHL Professor Hosted at the Geneva Academy

31 October 2022

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).

‘We are very grateful to the SNF and to the University of Geneva, which is part of the network ‘Scholars at Risk’, for allowing us to host Dr Hendel at the Geneva Academy’ explains Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.

‘Dr Hendel conducts research of extreme importance and relevance in the field of IHL. We feel privileged to be able to host her and look forward to collaborating with her. We hope she will find at the Academy a conducive and supportive environment despite the enormous challenges linked to the war in Ukraine.’ she adds.

‘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.

Focus on the Protection of the Environment during Armed Conflicts

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.

‘My stay at the Geneva Academy will allow me to pursue my research on the international legal regulation of environmental protection during armed conflicts, with a focus on the current Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict. I am notably looking at the responsibility for environmental damages and at the qualification of the attacks and seizure of nuclear plants in Ukraine through the prism of IHL’ underlines Dr Hendel.

‘I am also studying the application of the article on criminal liability for ‘Ecocide’ in the Ukrainian Criminal Code and preparing amendment proposals based on IHL provisions and other states’ best practices. This is an issue of crucial importance since these crimes are committed in Ukraine by the Russian armed forces at this very moment and will probably be committed till the end of the armed conflict’ she adds.

'How best to protect the environment during armed conflicts is a topic of increasing urgency. Dr Hendel’s research is particularly pertinent given the conflict affecting her country, and we hope that her stay with us will not only facilitate a continuation of this work but an opportunity to enrich discussions and thinking within the Geneva Academy and our partnerships’ says Dr Erica Harper, Head of Research and Policy Studies at the Geneva Academy.

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