Can Russia be held responsible for their invasion of Ukraine?

This post is part of a short series of blog posts exploring the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine against the background rules of international law. The posts are based on presentations given at an event on the subject on 7 March that was organised by the University of Bristol Law School’s Centre for International Law. In this second blog post of the series, Dr Kathryn Allinson of the School of Law, University of Bristol, considers the possibility of invoking responsibility against Russia for their invasion of Ukraine. 

Dr. Kathryn Allinson, University of Bristol Law School

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In the early hours of 24 February, President Putin set out his justifications for the use of Russian military force against Ukraine. This was followed by the commencement of aerial strikes across Ukraine and the invasion by ground troops of Ukrainian territory. In this blog, I will explore the role that the international law on state responsibility (as articulated in the Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (ARSIWA)) can play in responding to this conduct by Russia.

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Was Russia’s Attack on the Maternity Hospital in Mariupol a Violation of International Humanitarian Law?

This post is part of a short series of blog posts exploring the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine against the background rules of international law. The posts are based on presentations given at an event on the subject on 7 March that was organised by the University of Bristol Law School’s Centre for International Law.

In this first blog post of the series, Professor Noëlle Quénivet from the University of the West of England introduces us to the question of the compatibility of Russia’s invasion with international humanitarian law (the law of armed conflict).

by Noëlle Quénivet, Professor in International Law, University of West of England

In the last few weeks, the press has reported numerous instances of attacks by Russian forces on cities, hospitals, airports, nuclear power plants, places of worships, etc. The list is very long. But are all these attacks automatically unlawful, as often claimed in press reports? After explaining the legal framework to determine the lawfulness of these attacks, this post, using the example of the attack on hospitals, and more specifically the maternity hospital in Mariupol, illustrates how the targeting rules apply and argues that, even in the case of an attack against medical facilities, the answer is not always a straight: ‘it is unlawful’. (more…)

Hostages and Human Rights at the European Court of Human Rights: The Tagayeva and Others v Russia Case

By Dr Sofia Galani, Lecturer in Law (University of Bristol Law School).

On Thursday, 13 April 2017, the European Court of Human Rights released one of the most anticipated decisions in the Court’s history – the Tagayeva and Others v Russia case. The judgment concerned the siege of the Beslan School, North Ossetia by Chechen fighters in September 2004 and the ensuing rescue operation by the Russian forces. During these tragic incidents, 330 people lost their lives, including more than a hundred children. Almost 180 of the victims were burnt to an extent that the identification of the remains and establishment of the cause of death were impossible.

The purpose of this blog is to summarise the key findings of the Court’s 239-page decision and provide a brief overview of the human rights obligations of states in the context of hostage-taking as discussed by the Court. Although this hostage-taking incident was of an unprecedented scale, terrorist groups have never stopped taking hostages within or outside Europe, and as a result European states have been involved in a number of rescue operations. Therefore, this judgment can help clarify the obligations that states have before, during and after a hostage-taking incident occurs. (more…)