The Geneva Academy Will Intervene as a Third Party in the Case Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia

27 March 2023

The Geneva Academy has been granted leave by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to intervene as a third party – along with 26 governments – in the Inter-State case Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia (applications nos. 8019/16, 43800/14, 28525/20 and 11055/22). The case covers complaints concerning the Russian military operations in Ukraine since 24 February 2022 and the conflict in eastern Ukraine involving pro-Russian separatists which began in 2014, including the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

‘This third-party intervention is a unique opportunity for us to accompany this important court proceeding and deliver rigorous and neutral advice on questions pertaining to the interplay between international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law in the current armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia’ explains Dr Erica Harper, Head of Research and Policy Studies at the Geneva Academy.

Envisaged Scope of the Intervention

The submission will address key legal issues like the extra-territorial application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the attribution of conduct and its interaction with the questions of establishing jurisdiction and classifying armed conflicts, the relationship between the ECHR and the international legal prohibition on the threat or use of force, and the interplay between the ECHR and IHL.

‘Being allowed to intervene as a third party in this seminal case is as huge a privilege and a responsibility. We are thrilled to provide such input and will strive to assist the Court in the most effective way’ says our Research Fellow Dr Francesco Romani.

Part of the IHL Expert Pool

This submission forms part of our new IHL Expert Pool:composed of thematically and geographically representative experts in the field of IHL, it works to strengthen the capacity of human rights mechanisms to incorporate IHL into their work, by providing expert advice on priority IHL themes on a solicited and non-solicited basis.

Launched in 2022, the project can now count on an ever-expanding list of experts – covering as many areas of expertise as possible – and managed to position itself as a flexible tool that human rights mechanisms can rely on to increase their IHL knowledge and apply IHL in their work.

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