2023 – REPORT - FIGHTING IMPUNITY FOR VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW IN RUSSIA’S RENEWED INVASION OF UKRAINE

Rodrigue DEMEUSE (Belgium)

08 October 2023

Since the beginning of Russia’s latest unlawful and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine, egregious violations of international law have taken place. Ordering and leading an attack on Ukraine, in breach of international law and without legitimate justification, constitutes a crime of aggression. The Russian leaders who orchestrated this aggression must be held accountable, along with their Belarusian counterparts who aided and abetted them. At their behest or with their approval, troops have gone on to systematically and unrestrainedly trample on international humanitarian law (IHL) and multiple human rights. The most serious transgressions constitute war crimes, and potentially even crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide.

These crimes must not be left unpunished. Establishing and proving the perpetrators’ guilt and bringing them to justice is thus of paramount importance. This report outlines the most egregious violations of international criminal, humanitarian, and human rights law committed since 24 February 2022. It highlights the ongoing efforts at both the national and international levels to establish the facts and hold those responsible to account, as well as the hurdles faced along the way. In its conclusion, this draft report provides actionable recommendations to Allies and the international community to more effectively combat impunity for crimes committed during Russia’s war on Ukraine.