The Legal Implications of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

A Panel Discussion on the Legal Implications of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine continues with the relentless violence, mass destruction, human suffering and displacement of millions affecting us all from a moral, personal and professional point of view. As the dynamics of this conflict unfold, and further deteriorate, it is increasingly clear that international law will play an important role in how the international community responds to this invasion and its effects. Indeed, Russian military aggression has presented a clear and extremely serious violation of International Law and International Human Rights Law that cannot be justified. In this context, the School of Law, University of Leeds, has convened a live online panel discussion to both reflect on these legal implications, as well as to address the questions and concerns that staff, students and members of the public have regarding the conflict. Whilst the legal implications are multiple and evolving, some key issues for discussion are as follows:

• War crimes – which courts will have jurisdiction for the international crimes being committed in Ukraine? How will these be investigated? What is the role of international criminal law?

• How does the general public perceive international criminal courts and the influence of politics on them? How will this affect future international criminal justice processes regarding the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine?

• What are the roles of the UN General Assembly and the International Court of Justice in resolving the conflict? What is the Charter-based responsibility of the international community regarding this conflict?

• What are the international human rights law implications of this conflict? How can the European Convention on Human Rights be applied to the conflict in Ukraine?

Panel Members:

Alex Batesmith - Alex Batesmith is a Lecturer in Legal Profession at the School of Law, University of Leeds. Before becoming an academic in 2015, Alex had been in practice as a domestic and international criminal lawyer for over 20 years: ten years as a criminal barrister in Leeds, five years as a United Nations war crimes prosecutor in Kosovo and Cambodia and six years as an independent post-conflict justice consultant. He has published and presented on issues including international justice, international criminal lawyers and the rule of law in authoritarian regimes

Ilaria Zavoli - Dr Ilaria Zavoli is a Lecturer in Law at the School of Law, University of Leeds, and a qualified lawyer in Italy. Ilaria's obtained a PhD in International Criminal Law from the University of Leeds, and her research interests lie in the areas of International Criminal Law, International Law, and Criminal Law. Ilaria’s research includes a study of the Ukrainian conflict with a focus on the responsibility of the United Nations General Assembly to maintain peace and protect the civilian population affected by warfare activities.

Ilias Trispiotis - Ilias Trispiotis is an Associate Professor in Human Rights Law at the School of Law, University of Leeds. His areas of research span the fields of international and European human rights law, equality law and legal theory. He has advised UK MPs, international NGOs and charities on anti-discrimination and human rights law.

Nora Stappert - Dr Nora Stappert is a Lecturer in International Relations and International Law at the School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds. She is currently also a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen. Her research focuses on the politics of international law, and specifically on how the authority and legitimacy of international (criminal) courts, and international organisations more generally, is established and challenged.

Stuart Wallace - Dr. Stuart Wallace is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Leeds. His expertise lies in the application of International Human Rights Law to military operations. Dr. Wallace has worked at both the European Court of Human Rights (2009) and International Criminal Court (2010). He is the author of ‘The Application of the European Convention on Human Rights to Military Operations’, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2019 and "Applying the European Convention on Human Rights to the Conflict in Ukraine" which was published in the Russian Law Journal in 2018.

Paolo Sandro (Panel Chair) Lecturer-in-Law.

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