11 March 2022
11 March 2022 --- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky may be making it more difficult to prosecute war crimes against Russian troops amid the ongoing invasion after he signed a decree legalizing the right of civilians to use weapons in the same manner as the country’s armed forces. War crimes could include the bombing of a maternity and children’s hospital in the city of Mariupol, shelling civilian areas, including the city of Irprin, and other actions of the like. Because civilians engage in “direct participation in hostilities” they lose their legal protection from “the dangers arising from military operations,” according to the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC). The following images are the decree given to the Ukrainian people by President Zelensky. (Displayed on the right)
10 March 2022
10 March 2022 – Russian forces now occupy two of Ukraine’s five nuclear power stations, Chernobyl (non-operational) and Zaporizhzhia. A third, Yuzhnoukrainsk, is at risk, with Russian troops reportedly less than 20 miles away at the time of this article. There is a long history of attacks by both state and non-state actors on nuclear reactor facilities. These attacks, many of which resulted in damage or destructive, go back at least as far as 1961, and involve sabotage by insiders, cyber intrusion, and kinetic strikes. Although a number of multilateral efforts have been undertaken during the past thirty years to prohibit attacks on nuclear facilities, no formal legal instruments specifically proscribing attacks have yet been adopted.
The international legal regime consists of treaties, agreements, and norms of conduct. International treaties are the highest level of international law that obligates parties to the agreed commitments. However, there are no existing treaties that deal specifically with nuclear power plants and the fuel storage and other facilities associate with them. The situation is not clear cut and the expected international behavior must be found in the Geneva Convention, international humanitarian law, and multiple International Atomic Energy Agency.
In addition to violating this body of legal and political constraints, Russian attacks on Ukrainian nuclear facilities are a direct assault on the international norms regarding nuclear violence that have developed since the nuclear age.
By: Alyx Pedraza