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In March the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Russian president Vladimir Putin and Childrens’s rights commissioner Maria Lvova Belova. The court suspects them of the war crimes of unlawful deportation of population and unlawful transfer of population for the transfer of children from the Russian occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
In this episode we talk specifically about the methods used by the Russian government for the transfer of children and what legal classifications could apply to what is happening with international law scholar Yulia Ioffe and war crimes investigator Nathaniel Raymond.
Yulia is an assistant professor of law at University College London and her article Forcibly Transferring Ukrainian Children to the Russian Federation: A Genocide? is due to come out soon in the journal of Genocide Research. A Ukrainian native, Yulia has worked for the UNCHR in Ukraine and Bosnia before she went into academia.
Nathaniel is the Executive Director of the Humanitarian Research Lab at the Yale School of Public Health and Researches mass atrocity response operations, data governance and humanitarian aid. He is one of the authors of Yale’s Conflict Observatory’s February report Russia’s Systematic Program for the Re-education & Adoption of Ukraine’s Children.
Both Yulia and Nathaniel’s research looks at the situation after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24, 2022. Soon after reports began to emerge of children from orphanages or state medical institutions being moved to Russia for “safety” and more stories emerged of children being brought to Russia or Russia controlled areas like Crimea and this got a lot of attention from war crimes investigators.
Yulia and Nathaniel talk us through their research and what has happened since the ICC’s arrest warrants. *Spoiler Alert* It’s not much.
For recommendations Yulia pointed us to the podcast #UkrainianSpaces which is all about Ukrainian identity and amplifying Ukrainian voices. She also recommended The Zelensky Effect by Olga Onuch and Henry E. Hale, a book that explores the powers and the society that shaped Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, as good read to understand Ukraine.
Nathaniel urged us to read The Justice Casdade, How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics by Kathryn Sikkink as somewhat of a ‘feel good’ read for human rights researchers and prosecutors that their actions do have quantifiable effects.
Our short, newsy justice updates
Over the past few months, there have been a number of exciting new developments in the realm of environmental international law, but we are lagging a bit! Until now. This is the first of a short series which we have dubbed ‘The Eco Files’ to catch ourselves (and you) up on the bit international law developments when it comes to climate justice.
In this first episode, we dive right into the deep end by looking at the recent United Nations General Assembly resolution to request an advisory opinion from the ICJ on climate change. The resolution, which was championed by the small Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu, was eventually co-sponsored by 132 other states. It was a group of law students – the Pacific Island Students Fighting Climate Change (PISFCC) who pushed this up the agenda, and it was eventually Vanuatu who brought it to the UN.
Many small island nations in the Pacific are among the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, Vanuatu has fallen victim to a number of devastating cyclones. Cyclone Pam which struck the island in 2015 caused widespread damage with costs climbing to more than 64% of their GDP.
The question that Vanuatu is asking of the ICJ contains two parts. Firstly, it asks what the obligations of states are in regard to the protection of the climate for future generations, and secondly it asks what the consequences are for states that do not meet these obligations. To find out exactly what this all means and how Vanuatu is mounting their legal strategy, we spoke to Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh who is lead co-counsel for Vanuatu. With her help, we map out the road ahead for the potentially long proceedings at the ICJ.
This podcast has been published as part of a partnership between Asymmetrical Haircuts and JusticeInfo.net. JusticeInfo is an independent website covering news on justice related to mass violence, so as to promote reconciliation and fight impunity in societies facing serious crises. It is a project of Fondation Hirondelle.
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