IBA condemns Russia’s disregard of civilian life and international law amid intensified shelling of Ukraine

Thursday 13 October 2022

As Kyiv officials report that Russian ‘kamikaze drones’ have today struck Ukraine’s capital city, the International Bar Association (IBA) condemns Russia’s prolonged and intensified bombardment across Ukraine that has resulted in civilian deaths, casualties, displacements and destruction of infrastructure and further violations of international law and international humanitarian law.

The shelling continues today despite the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, 12 October, passing a resolution by a large majority calling on countries and organisations not to recognise the four regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia – that Russia has claimed, following so-called referendums held in September. The resolution demands that Moscow reverse course on its attempted illegal annexation.

IBA President Sternford Moyo commented: ‘The IBA condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and the recent expanded fusillade of missile launches indiscriminately attacking the civilian population across the country causing deaths, great suffering and destruction. This spate of shelling is yet another example of Russia’s complete disregard for the sanctity of life and law.’ Mr Moyo added: ‘It is admirable that while Ukrainians are fighting for their very existence, they are simultaneously resolute in systematically documenting Russia’s infringements so that at a future date the perpetrators can be held to account without ambiguity.’

IBA Executive Director Dr Mark Ellis stated: ‘The widespread shelling of Kyiv and other cities across Ukraine is yet another war crime in a long list committed by Russia's civilian and military leaders in its illegal invasion of Ukraine. One of the most sacred principles of international humanitarian law, mandated on all parties to the conflict, is the protection of civilians. The indiscriminate attack against civilians violates this principle, and those committing these crimes must be brought to justice.’

Prior to the current spate of shelling, Dr Ellis visited Ukraine in September 2022. In an interview with Los Angeles Review of Books, he relayed his observations and discussed the legal implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stating: ‘I can now say, unequivocally, that atrocity crimes have been committed [...] [T]here’s a great deal at stake, not just for Ukraine and its citizens, but for the concept of international justice and accountability.’

The current round of widespread shelling is in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions to which Russia is a signatory despite its withdrawal from one of the protocols relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts. With the Geneva Conventions – a series of treaties on the treatment of civilians, prisoners of war and soldiers who are otherwise rendered outside the fight or incapable of fighting – being comprised of four treaties and three additional protocols Russia remains obligated to adhere to these international principles that govern war.

The IBA condemns all contraventions of international law and international humanitarian law resulting from the Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade the sovereign state of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.


Please direct enquiries to: IBApressoffice@int-bar.org

Notes to the Editor

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  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.

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