The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Violations of International Law

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Russia, Ukraine, sovereignty, war crimes, United Nations Charter, International Criminal Court (ICC)


On February 24, 2022, Russia initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Since then, Russian forces have attacked different parts of Ukraine using both ground troops as well as air strikes. So far, tens of thousands of Ukrainians have died as a result of Russian attacks. By so blatantly attacking Ukraine, another sovereign country, Russia has violated international law’s basic prohibition on the use of force, which has been the underlying tenet of the post-World War II international legal order. Moreover, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been characterized by various international humanitarian law violations, such as the intentional targeting of civilian objectives, torture, rape and sexual violence. Russian actions may have given rise to several atrocity crimes, such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and aggression. Russian leaders and soldiers, responsible for the commission of such crimes, should be held accountable and be prosecuted before a domestic, hybrid, or international tribunal.

Considering the gravity and systematic nature of the crimes committed in Ukraine, it is crucial that Russian political and military leaders and soldiers who committed atrocities face accountability, whether at the international level, or through a hybrid or local prosecutorial mechanism.


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