KIULJ Volume. 4, Issue 2 (2022)


Ifeolu John Koni, PhD


Invasion Interrogating Criminal Liability and International Law.

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Invasion of ukraine: interrogating the criminal liability of russia under international law

Abstract: Abstract The invasion of Ukraine by Russia on 24 February 2022 has been widely condemned by world leaders as an act of aggression by one State against a fellow sovereign State. The condemnation has been premised mainly on the obligations imposed by Article 2, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the United Nations Charter on Members of the Organisation to pursue peaceful means in settling international disputes and refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State. This article examines the criminal liability of Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. It adopts the library based doctrinal analysis and relies on primary sources like the United Nations (UN) Charter, Rome Statute of International Criminal Court (ICC), and the Geneva Conventions on rules of engagement during armed conflict. It also makes use of secondary sources such as internet materials and periodicals. The study finds that although Russia can be held liable for the commission of crimes of international concern such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression, as contained in article 5 of the ICC Statute, yet the country cannot be prosecuted by the Court because it is not a signatory to the Statute. It further finds that even though the United Nations can sanction Russia for its apparent act of aggression against Ukraine, such a possibility is quite remote due to Russia’s prime status as one of the veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, the only principal organ of the Organisation that can order an enforcement action under Chapter VII of the Charter. In order to remedy the anomaly in the international criminal justice system thrown up by the conflict in Ukraine, the paper suggests a compressive reform of the UN system to, inter alia, make it mandatory for all Members of the Organisation to submit to the jurisdiction of ICC while considering matters affecting their obligations as contained under Articles 1 and 2 of the UN Charter.