IBA condemns Russian legal organisations’ vocal support of Putin’s war against Ukraine

Wednesday 9 March 2022

The International Bar Association (IBA) – the global voice of the legal profession – condemns the Association of Lawyers of Russia for its recent issuance of a pro war statement. Furthermore, the IBA reiterates its condemnation of the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

As irrefutable and compelling evidence of gross violations of international humanitarian law by Russian armed forces mounts, the IBA calls on the Association of Lawyers of Russia to repudiate its statement that ‘the legality of the decisions taken by the President of the Russian Federation follows from the applicable international law’. It does not.

IBA President Sternford Moyo commented: ‘The IBA finds it contemptible when a legal organisation whose members swore an oath to uphold the rule of law disregards international law in such an ignoble manner. Therefore, any legal Russian bar association or law society that is a member of the IBA and is supportive of the illegal invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation will be referred to the IBA Credentials Committee.’

The IBA notes that an earlier statement by another Russian legal organisation’s website called for an end to the war referencing ‘tragic events’ happening to ‘peaceful citizens’. Unfortunately, it was replaced with an aggressively pro-war stance. This may reflect the chilling effect of the introduction of the possibility of 15 years imprisonment for anyone, or any entity, criticising the war and/or not referring to the incursion in anyway other than as a ‘special military operation’.

IBA Executive Director Dr Mark Ellis commented: ‘The Association of Lawyers of Russia should recant its statement. Any association of lawyers is duty bound to uphold intentional law. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and now its indiscriminate attacks on civilians during this war are egregious violations. All bar associations must condemn these acts.’

As violations escalate, the death toll rises and cities are decimated, the IBA affirms that there is no legal justification for the action ordered by Russia’s President Putin and maintains that:

  • until the appropriate time, no Russian government officials nor agencies will participate in IBA Committee events; and
  • until the appropriate time, no IBA event will be held in Russia.

The IBA has asked its member Bars to provide united and visible support for Ukraine by condemning the invasion by Russia in the strongest terms.


Notes to the Editor

  1. Related material:
  2. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.

    The IBA acts as a connector, enabler, and influencer, for fair practice and accountability worldwide. The IBA has collaborated on a broad range of ground-breaking, international projects with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, The Commonwealth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.​​​​​​​

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Website page link for this news release:
Short link: https://tinyurl.com/27xvcar6

Full link: https://www.ibanet.org/IBA-condemns-Russian-legal-organisations-vocal-support-of-Putins-war-against-Ukraine

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