Ukraine

What is wrong with Amnesty International’s Conclusions that ”Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians”

What is wrong with Amnesty International’s Conclusions that ''Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians''

By Wayne Jordash and Anna Mykytenko

International humanitarian law (IHL) is a body of law specifically designed to protect civilians and those who have laid down their arms. To this end, IHL imposes obligations on all parties to an armed conflict to comply with its foundational principles, including distinguishing civilian and military objectives and taking precautionary measures to protect civilians from the effects of armed attacks, both of which entail, in given situations, certain restraints on fighting or locating in or around populated areas.

As the Ukraine Government appears to accept, every military – whether fighting for its sovereignty or preservation of its people or otherwise – must abide by IHL and be seen to be doing so. No warring party, however righteous their cause, can evade these demands. Being on the side of the angels is no defence. 

But human rights organisations, especially those with the international reach of Amnesty International (AI), have a correlative obligation to ensure that trenchant allegations alleging failures are based upon a comprehensive fact-finding exercise, a proper methodological approach and conclusions that take into account the realities of a beleaguered government’s attempt to defend its population from systematic war crimes, a persecutory campaign encompassing crimes against humanity and possibly genocide.



By no stretch of the imagination does yesterday’s press-release by AI meet that solemn obligation nor appear to serve any useful protective function. To the contrary, as Russian propogandists now celebrate and add another excuse for targeting civilians to their ever-growing list, allegations such as these may well lead to less protection, not more. 

AI’s Press-Release is critical of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and accuses them of serious violations of IHL, e.g., “Ukraine’s tactics have violated international humanitarian law as they’ve turned civilian objects into military targets”, “[Ukrainian military failed] to take feasible precautions to protect civilians”, “[t]he Ukrainian military has also routinely set up bases in schools in towns and villages in Donbas and in the Mykolaiv area”.

The problem of course is not the making of these allegations, which need to be made – and made clearly – if the evidence establishes them to be true. That is the role of AI, often played to great effect. But in this instance, AI’s methodology is not only unclear,…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Ukrainska Pravda…