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International Criminal Law and the Russia-Ukraine War: In Conversation with Andrew Clapham

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

Andrew Clapham is Professor of International Law at the Geneva Graduate Institute, which he joined in 1997. He was the first Director of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (2006 - 2014). Andrew Clapham teaches international law, human rights law, and the laws of war. He recently served as a member of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (2017-2023). In 2003 he was an Adviser on International Humanitarian Law to Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Iraq. His publications include: Brierly’s Law of Nations: An Introduction to the Role of International Law in International Relations (7th edition) (Oxford University Press, 2012), Oxford Handbook of International Law in Armed Conflict, co-edited with Paola Gaeta (Oxford University Press, 2014), and he is co-editor with Paola Gaeta and Marco Sassòli of The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary (Oxford University Press, 2015). His latest book is entitled War (Oxford University Press, 2021).

CJLPA: Good morning Professor Clapham. I would like to thank you on behalf of The Cambridge Journal of Law, Politics, and Art, for joining us this morning to discuss the valuable insights of your work in international law, human rights, and humanitarian law. Your career spans decades with experience as Amnesty International representative at the UN, advisor to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Iraq, member of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, and more. You were also the first director of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (from 2006-2014), and a well published Professor of international law at the Geneva Graduate Institute, with your most recent book titled War, released in 2021. We would like to start by asking how your diverse experiences as practitioner, academic scholar and author have been informing your thoughts and your work, and maybe briefly, what your focus has been recently as well?

Professor Andrew Clapham: Well, thank you very much for having me. I suppose it's difficult to be working in this area without thinking about the war in Ukraine. Obviously, there are multiple legal developments related to that conflict. I don't pretend to be on top of all of them, but if you ask me what I'm thinking about, it's a lot of the issues connected to that conflict, but partly because they haven't come up before in recent times—for example, issues of neutrality, funding, and supplying arms to either side of the conflict, the questions of naval warfare, interference with ships, search of ships, that hasn't come up before, at least not in recent times. And so those are some of the issues, and I know we're going to talk about war crimes later. And then the second thing that I'm thinking about at the moment, if you're asking, is the prosecution in Stockholm, Sweden, for complicity in war crimes of the former chief executive and former chairman of the board of the oil company Lundin, for their activity in Sudan (as it then was) in the sector where Lundin was doing oil exploration. That also is a groundbreaking prosecution and I'm trying to follow it as best I can. It only started a few days ago but it's going to run for two years, so I'm trying to get my head around that as well.

CJLPA: There are so many avenues to consider with regards to these very complex conflicts. Beyond international mechanisms, do you think Ukraine is currently equipped to prosecute such war crimes? And what are the main challenges Ukraine would face in prosecuting these war crimes?

AC: Ukraine has a criminal code that arguably covers most of the relevant war crimes. The main difficulty, I think, is not necessarily in the legislation or even the existence of courts, but in actually capturing people who could be prosecuted. Obviously, they have captured prisoners of war, but some of those have had to be exchanged for Ukrainian prisoners on the Russian side. So even historically, looking at some of the prosecutions that there have been, even after conviction—if I've understood correctly—those prisoners have been swapped for people held by the Russians on the other side. So, in trying to prosecute war crimes in the middle of an armed conflict, you come up against these competing interests, which is to bring your own people home.

The actual definition of the crimes is a complicated area. But what I would say to you at this point is that this is unusual in some ways as an armed conflict because you have the application not only of all four Geneva Conventions, but also Additional Protocol I, because both Ukraine and Russia are parties to Additional Protocol I. Additional Protocol I includes a list of war crimes relevant to this conflict, related to attacks on civilians or disproportionate attacks involving civilian casualties. And so it wouldn't be that difficult to prosecute such war crimes because they are defined in a treaty ratified by both sides. A lot of the media talk about the fact that neither Russia nor Ukraine have ratified the Rome Statute, but actually the Rome Statute is for prosecuting people in the International Criminal Court (ICC), and it's based on these crimes which have existed in treaty law for some time now. So I think it's certainly possible. And the fact that these crimes are grave breaches under the Geneva Conventions means not only that they could be prosecuted in Ukraine or Russia, but they could also be prosecuted in any state in the world because every state has ratified the Geneva Conventions, and many of those states will have national law that allows them to prosecute a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, even states that are not parties to the ICC. So for example, since January this year, the United States has adjusted its law and could prosecute anybody accused of grave breaches. The United Kingdom has something called the Geneva Conventions Act, which gives jurisdiction to the British courts to prosecute those who are accused of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

So that would be the aspect that I would stress that the ‘universal jurisdiction’ if you like—because every state in the world is a party to these treaties—stems from the Geneva Conventions and not from something called international criminal law or even the ICC.

CJLPA: In your opinion, would Ukraine need to amend any of their laws to align more with ICL standards in order to prosecute these crimes and establish accountability? And what would need to be amended? Or is it, as you said, not Ukrainian national law that would pose an issue?

AC: No, I think there is room for amendments in Ukrainian law. I think one of the issues relates to command responsibility or superior responsibility—Article 28 in the ICC statute.[1] If you wanted to prosecute command or superior responsibility in Ukraine, my impression was that it would be quite tricky.

But there may be other ways under Ukrainian law that I don't understand, as to how you could indeed prosecute somebody for command responsibility.

In terms of other crimes, I think there are efforts to try to bring national legislation more into line with some of the long list of crimes in the ICC Statute. But I think, for the very basic crimes of murder and sexual violence, you would be able to use the war crimes concepts from the Geneva Conventions, which are sort of indirectly incorporated into Ukrainian law because it talks about criminal responsibility for violating humanitarian law treaties which Ukraine is a party to, and that would obviously cover the Geneva Conventions.

CJLPA: In your recent book titled War, you explore the evolution of the term and how the different notions of war, or War, and armed conflict may produce different implications and consequences. Indeed, Russia prefers the term ‘special operation’, and individuals may be tried for treason by referring to it as a war. In your opinion, which category would Russia-Ukraine fall under, and what laws may apply in that case?

AC: It's true that the Russian authorities have avoided using the word war to describe the operation. Although, ironically, my impression from some of the reports I've read is that they do talk about a war with NATO. So there's a sort of distinction between how they see the others, and maybe it's partly related to the idea that they claim they are sort of reincorporating Ukraine back and so they don't see it as a war with another state. But to be frank, I don't think that's the only reason why Russian authorities have avoided the word war.

I think the word war suggests an all or nothing combat. And I think to suggest to the people that ‘we are at war’, or ‘we are going to war’ suggests that young people will be conscripted, and the whole economy will be mobilised. I think that might be a frightening concept, and so a special military operation implies something smaller.

Now, whether or not one could use the word War with a capital W as I've used it in the book is a separate question; I've used it to mean a formal Declaration of War under the old law of war, where some conflicts were not considered War because there had been no Declaration of War. As far as I know, there's no Declaration of War by Russia or Ukraine, or any sense that they are at War. So, to answer your question, I would consider this a war or simply an armed conflict. It might make a difference, for example under some human rights treaties, which allow for the death penalty in time of War. There, I think you need a formal War, and not just an armed conflict. So it could be significant.

The other area is in naval warfare, where some people might consider that the law of prize—the law that entitles you to seize enemy ships outside neutral waters—really requires a Declaration of War to trigger prize court jurisdiction. So there could be reasons why the states might choose not to make a Declaration of War or why, in the future, they might make one. But for me, at the moment, it's not a Declared War.

CJLPA: You have also written about just war theory in the case of Ukraine, and that it may be time to consider holding lower rank and file soldiers responsible for fighting those conflicts in the same way we hold higher ranking military leaders responsible. Can you explain this concept for our readers and elaborate on the shortcomings of our current concepts of just war and responsibility?

AC: Yes, thank you. In traditional just war theory, philosophers feel that there should be something called ‘the symmetry of soldiers’ or ‘the symmetry of combatants’, the idea is that whether you're fighting on the just side or the unjust side, you should be treated the same, unless, of course, you commit a war crime. But the mere fact of fighting, even for the aggressor’s side, should not lead to punishment under this theory. And this principle is defended strongly by traditional just war theorists. I'm not sure exactly what their overarching key argument is, but one of the arguments which recurs is that if soldiers are going to be punished for simply fighting, there would be no incentive to abide by the laws of war. So, if when you're captured, you're going to prison for simply fighting on the other side, then what's to stop you from killing civilians or committing rape because you're going to be punished anyway? I personally don't think that's a good argument. You would obviously be punished more if you've committed war crimes, and I don't think people commit war crimes thinking about whether or not they're going to be punished. I think you need a much more complex analysis to try to dissuade people from doing that.

But then one finds a set of secondary arguments which revolve around feasibility, if you punish everyone from the aggressor's side you're going to have an impossible task. If there is an army of 100,000 people, and they're all aggressors, then you can't prosecute everybody. And so you make a mockery of the rule of law, and you undermine the whole concept of law in wartime, because people are violating the law every day, and you're not punishing them. Again, I don't think that really holds up in the sense that, clearly, we're not going to punish everybody, you've got to capture people, and you're not going to waste time punishing people who had no real role in the aggression. Yes, there may be foot soldiers who are liable to prosecution, but you're going to punish those who have engaged in knowingly in furthering the aggression, not people who were peeling potatoes not really understanding what was going on, sitting at the back of the lines.

So, my suggestion was that we need to start to think about punishing those on the aggressor’s side and not consider that they have some special immunity derived from a philosophical just war theory. In law, it gets more complicated in that the Additional Protocol I does say that members of the armed forces of a state have the right to directly participate in hostilities in an interstate armed conflict. But in Nuremberg people were prosecuted on the military side for assisting the aggression. And I think it would be possible, without violating the rule that says you have the right to directly participate in hostilities, to start to think about the crime of aiding and assisting the crime of aggression.

And this brings me back to my answer to your very first question that if we start to think about prosecuting those who assist the aggression, then that starts to open up the possibility of prosecuting businesses and business leaders for supplying the equipment, which allows a state to engage in an aggression. If we start from the idea that you can only prosecute the head of state for aggression and the top general, but you can't prosecute all the people who have helped in that aggression, I think you let a lot of people off the hook—all those who are making money out of the war and fuelling the war on the aggressor’s side. And I think they should start to think that maybe they too can be considered as liable under international law. So those are my sort of reasons why I think it makes sense to start to think about those who are helping the aggressor and not say that, traditionally, you can't look at either one side as worse than the other because ‘that's how it's always been’, because ‘that's how it's always been’ goes back to the time when disputes were settled in a duel-like mentality: we have a dispute, so we'll go to war, and then God will reward the winner and that's how disputes are resolved.

But today, if you have a dispute, you’re supposed to go to the UN or the International Court of Justice, not fight it out on the battlefield, and if you've chosen to start a war, I don't see why not just the leader, but all of those who knowingly go along with it can't be punished too.

Now my students and other people tell me: ‘Oh, but a lot of people will be coerced into going to war, and they won't really understand it, or it'll be a life and death, they'll be shot if they don't go to war’. To which my response would be, ‘Well, we could deal with those cases one by one when it comes to the prosecution. If somebody genuinely feared for their life and had to go to war and ended up being on the aggressor’s side, but didn't commit war crimes, maybe they don't get punished in the same way as somebody who organised all of the troops or somebody who built all the bombs and knowingly sold them to the aggressor’s side’. So, it's a bit of a taboo subject in just war theory. Even those who take a more revisionist approach don't really want to touch the idea that soldiers can't be prosecuted merely for participating in a war on the aggressor’s side, but I'm saying maybe the time has come to change that approach.

CJLPA: I think a lot of how we deal with war, as you said, goes back to very archaic ideas, and it's time to modernise that and address disputes the way we address all kinds of other disputes. I agree that it also depends, because some soldiers would be way more aggressive than other soldiers. And I think that really gives an idea of the kinds of individuals involved in the conflict. Following from that, what practical limitations may arise from broadening the scope of accountability? As you said, if we don't stop at soldiers, then we might bring in corporates as well, which is also very important. So, what practical limitations may arise from this, and what avenues may be available to address these?

AC: I mean, I'm not sure there are practical limitations. I'm told, ‘Oh but that means prosecuting 100,000 people’, but that's not really how war crimes law works. Not all the war criminals are prosecuted in any conflict. A few people are—a tiny minority of those who have committed the crimes. And I think it could be the same for prosecuting the crime of aggression. It's not that you're going to take everybody in the prisoner of war camp and then prosecute them for the crime of aggression, but I think what we need to challenge is the idea that nobody can be prosecuted except a few leaders.

Is it practical to prosecute corporations and their directors? I think absolutely, yes. In some ways, it's easier because, first of all, the corporation can't move around in the same way that people can. People can sort of disappear, they can change their names, but if you are a major corporation, and you're supplying parts knowing that they're going to be used in a war of aggression, you can't just disappear—you're listed on the stock exchange, you have assets, you have a reputation. So I think it's a question of changing one's focus rather than that it is impracticable.

It's practically perhaps more difficult because corporations are well funded, almost by definition, and they will be able to pay for very good lawyers to delay prosecutions, to challenge jurisdiction, and so on. But we'll see what happens now with this Swedish case. It's going to run for two years and it will be watched, I think, very carefully, by corporate directors around the world, and whether or not either the corporation has to pay a fine—because they have already had some money frozen by the Swedish prosecutors—or the directors are punished, I think it will give pause for thought to other directors, and I think maybe it's worth reminding that such a prosecution can happen for war crimes, but in the future, it might also be for aiding and abetting the crime of aggression.

The rule that says that you can only prosecute the leaders is a rule for prosecuting aggression at the ICC, it's not necessarily a rule, in my view, for prosecuting aggression in national courts. So I think a lot of states have rules that say the crime of aggression can be prosecuted and here's the punishment, and those same states have rules on aiding and assisting an international crime. So what I'm suggesting is that it could give some companies, and their directors more importantly, pause for thought.

CJLPA: I think it's about time that corporations are held responsible and used as an example that, just because one is dealing with a corporate body does not mean that there are no individuals behind it who are making these decisions, who are playing that part in these armed conflicts. It's not just these military leaders that are directly involved. In 2018, the ICC gained jurisdiction over cases under the crime of aggression charge, with the important exception that it cannot exercise its jurisdiction over an actor from a non-signatory state. As a result, the international community has turned to the idea of a special tribunal for aggression to hold Russia accountable for its invasion. How optimistic are you regarding this path, and does this focus on a tribunal weaken the role of the ICC as an institution?

AC: I don't think it weakens the ICC as an institution. The ICC has plenty to do already, and if one were to give it the extra task of creating a dossier and prosecuting the crime of aggression at this point, it clearly has to diminish how much attention it can give to war crimes.

On the other hand, having said that, politically speaking, it does look strange that the ICC can't prosecute a Russian leader for the crime of aggression, even if Ukraine were to be a party to the statute. That seems odd. And it seems, to the media, that the ICC is really selective in that it doesn't go after powerful leaders, it only goes after other people. It's one of the peculiarities of the 2018 entry into force of the aggression amendments, as you say, is that you can't prosecute somebody from a non-state party. And there are a lot of other complications to do with jurisdiction over aggression. And I think it's very unlikely that we will see prosecutions for aggression. It's not just that Russia, China, and the United States got a free pass. It’s that most states are not going to ratify the amendment, which would allow for prosecution. So also British leaders and French leaders are not going to be prosecuted. So, I think one will just have to accept that states are not prepared to give an international tribunal jurisdiction over their leaders for aggression. Yes, you can say it's the fault of the ICC, but it's not really, it's the fault of those states who have steadfastly refused to allow the ICC to do this. So if you want to blame people, you can blame the British government, the American government, the French government, but you can't really blame the ICC as such.

Now, is it a good idea to have something in parallel? I would say yes, it will allow the story of the aggression to be told, it will allow for the identification for those who have been most involved in planning and executing it. And my hope, would be that, again, that might give people who are thinking about planning an illegal use of force, pause for thought, because even if it comes 10 years after the invasion, or 20 years, the charge of aggression is going to stick to them for the rest of their lives, whether or not they actually capture somebody and put them in prison. But the process of preparing the prosecution highlights that there is no right to go to war. It's a crime. And that, I think, focuses people's attention. And again, I think, the knock-on effects for those who are a bit more junior, or who are involved in influencing and shaping the policy, and in the commercial world assisting such an aggression, is perhaps where we should be focusing, because those are the people who are going to be, in a way, more vulnerable, because they want to travel and they have assets. It's more likely that those assets could be frozen and taken away from them, and given a choice, ‘Do I assist in this war of aggression or not?’ I'm hoping that some people will decide not to, when having seen that a special tribunal on aggression comes after a range of people and not just the president or prime minister.

CJLPA: In recent developments, and in the war, we have been made more aware of the Russian funded Special Forces by the name of the Wagner group. What is their legal status? Are they mercenaries? Or are they, in effect, Russian Armed Forces? What legal framework governs their status? And could Russia have certain responsibilities in relation to these crimes and how we can hold them accountable?

AC: Well, it's a fast-moving area. If we go back a while to when Wagner was disconnected from the Russian state more formally, they're often described as mercenaries. The problem with that is, of course, politically, and in the media terms, that they do look like mercenaries, but technically, as a matter of international law, the definition of mercenaries found in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions says that you can't be a mercenary if you are a national of a party to the conflict, or a resident of territory controlled by a party to the conflict. So members of Wagner who are Russian nationals, or even people of another nationality resident in the Donbass, say, which is controlled by Russia now, can't be a mercenary by definition. If captured, they would have to be given full prisoner of war status, and they couldn't be prosecuted as mercenaries because they wouldn't fit that definition, and anyway, they would have prisoner of war status. So that’s a bit complicated.

On the other hand, you might have somebody from Syria working for Wagner, which happens. They would be a mercenary and would not get prisoner of war status. Now, the sort of more complicated part is that another way in which you lose your mercenary status, if I can put it like that, is if you're integrated into the armed forces of the state. So to the extent that Wagner are now integrated into the Armed Forces of Russia, and it seems, according to the media reports, that they will come under the Ministry of Defense, and so on, and be under command and control, then even if they are paid, and they don't look like the armed forces, they would be the armed forces, and they wouldn't be mercenaries, whatever their nationality. So it's super complicated and you almost have to go case by case and day by day, because on one day, they might be integrated and, in the past, they weren't. Now that's the situation in Ukraine.

It gets much more complicated when you go to Mali, or one of the countries in Africa where Wagner are operating because there, there's no question of it being an international armed conflict and individual Wagner fighters having prisoner of war status or losing that if they're mercenaries, and there's an African convention on the elimination of mercenarism and a UN Convention on the use of mercenaries , which might create criminal responsibility for some of them. But again, you'd have to go situation by situation, and almost individual by individual as well because there are questions of motivation of the individual that are part of the mercenary definition, whether they're doing it just for money or for some other reason. So it gets very complicated.

To answer your second question, the extent to which Russia is responsible, if they become members of the Armed Forces of Russia, then Russia is automatically responsible for them. If they are not members of the Russian Armed Forces, and they are being directed by the Russian government, then under the law of state responsibility, Russia will be responsible for what these individuals do during the operation that is directed by Russia. The law on that is found in the Nicaragua vs. United States judgement of the International Court of Justice and in the law on state responsibility. Again, it can get quite complicated, you have to know which operation we're talking about. But in short, the Russian government would be responsible as a matter of international law for those operations which they have directed, both for the violations of human rights law and for the violations of international humanitarian law.

When it comes to the accountability of the individuals working for Wagner, there we forget, sometimes I think, that they can all be held accountable for any war crimes or crimes against humanity, or act of genocide even, if that was the appropriate crime, at the International Criminal Court. The International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over any of these crimes that happen in Ukraine, and obviously, in a lot of the countries in Africa where Wagner are operating. We could yet see individuals from Wagner prosecuted at the ICC, it's only the Russian aggression in Ukraine that can't be prosecuted at the ICC, but the other crimes can be. And to the extent that their crimes are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, going back to my earlier theme, they could be prosecuted anywhere in the world.

So the individuals in Wagner are a bit different from the leadership of Russia, say, in that they do want to and need to travel around the world. I would say they're vulnerable to being arrested—those who are wanted for war crimes—to being arrested and prosecuted anywhere, because if they're grave breaches, they'll be crimes of universal jurisdiction, and in addition many states will prosecute crimes committed in internal armed conflict, maybe committed in African countries where Wagner is operating. We have recently had quite a few prosecutions in Switzerland, related to Liberia, where people are being prosecuted for crimes committed in non-international armed conflict under Swiss law and international law.

CJLPA: From your point of view, how can justice be served for victims when we can only try these international crimes in the aftermath of the war, when they have already been committed, lives were lost, and most victims have yet to obtain some form of financial redress? Especially when considering the extensive financial resources and the many years it would take to see accountability. In other words, there certainly has to be balance when prosecuting crimes of this gravity, which takes time, it takes a lot of money, but essentially, what does international criminal law and justice mean in international criminal law?

AC: I think we have a sort of traditional understanding of international criminal law as coming in the transitional justice phase, or post-Bellum phase. The image that always comes to mind is those pictures of people being prosecuted in the Nuremberg court or the post-Rwanda prosecutions. But in fact, the Ukraine conflict is reminding us that people can be prosecuted in the middle of an armed conflict, and there have been some prosecutions in Ukraine. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a prosecution at the ICC before this conflict is over. I don't think we should assume that prosecutions only come at the end of a conflict when you have a winner and the winner gets to prosecute. I think this conflict is a bit special in that we have a developed system of international criminal law up and running, and we have expectations that there will be prosecutions, so there were prosecutions recently in Ukraine regarding Bucha, war crimes allegations. If I've read it correctly, these were crimes held in absentia, so they didn't actually have the defendants, but this may be a new way of dealing with the truth, of allowing witnesses to have their say, as you point out, before things are forgotten and things have moved on. I think we might be seeing a new type of international criminal law where it's as much about retribution and punishment, as about victims airing their grievances, and a story for the historical record, and identifying perpetrators who, even if they are not immediately captured, are going to find it increasingly difficult to move around the world. It's difficult now to go through borders with facial recognition, and with electronic passport controls, even when you get on the plane, you're being electronically scanned. I think it's going to be a different approach, rather than a show trial where you have people standing up in photos, it might be more about casting the net wider, and not knowing exactly when somebody is going to get caught. I might stress that these war crimes and crimes against humanity that we're talking about are crimes which have no statute of limitations according to international law. You are not supposed to say, well, after 10 years or 20 years, it's impossible to prosecute that. So you might think you've gotten away with it, but you'd also be aware that in 20, 30, 40 years’ time, somebody might recognise you as a person, even if you've changed your name, and that your freedom then might be curtailed.

CJLPA: You've written about the limits of human rights protections in times of armed conflict. Has the advent of social media and real time documentation of these abuses increased accountability? And can those tools be used to further increase the reach of human rights protections in terms of conflict, and even in relation to witnesses and the use of such evidence in court?

AC: Yes, in my experience, it is increasing accountability, certainly in the sense of people being held to account, even if it's not leading to so many prosecutions, but social media has enabled investigators to know who was where, and when. If they've posted a picture of themselves at a particular site, giving a speech, encouraging people to do certain actions, then that's part of the story. They can't say, ‘I never gave that speech’, or ‘I wasn't at that place on that day’, because it can all be pieced back together. The other real time element in this is not just the photos, the postings, and the videos, but also the satellite imaging, which is a new aspect to human rights investigations. So if you are trying to prove that a village was destroyed on a particular day, and you know that troops from one particular party to the conflict were there at that time, and you can see them moving, then you can show a before and after satellite image that builds up a picture in a way that interviews with witnesses can't quite do so, in terms of the persuasiveness of it. So a lot of the technology, it's not just related to people posting—I think people will become more wary as they realise that they're implicating themselves—but it's also the technology of having an eye in the sky, to use that expression, which will be able to show who moved where and what the results were, and I think that is quite important for accountability.

CJLPA: On a final note, what do you think the future of Ukraine would look like, in an ideal world, or how do you think the conflict would progress? Do you think we could see an end to it anytime in the near future?

AC: Well, I would hope for an end to it as soon as possible. It's not really for me to design the future of Ukraine, but I suppose I would want it to be under the rule of law, I would want it to be unoccupied, and I would want it to be peaceful.

CJLPA: Thank you very much once again for giving us your time this morning and for providing highly valuable insights on the Russia-Ukraine situation.

AC: Thank you for such a probing set of questions.


This interview was conducted by Shahad Alkamas, who graduated in 2021 from Middlesex University and obtained her LPC the following year at the University of Law. In addition to her Legal Researcher role at CJLPA, Shahad is currently working as an in-house litigation paralegal, with previous experience in various legal fields such as personal injury, immigration, and civil litigation.


[1] Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 2002, Article 28 reads in part: ‘Responsibility of commanders and other superiors: A military commander or person effectively acting as a military commander shall be criminally responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed by forces under his or her effective command and control, or effective authority and control as the case may be, as a result of his or her failure to exercise control properly over such forces where: (i) That military commander or person either knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the forces were committing or about to commit such crimes; and (ii) That military commander or person failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution’.

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