Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Kremlin Pulls Out of Geneva Convention UN has Cited Against Russia in Ukraine

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 23 – The Duma has passed and Vladimir Putin has signed a law withdrawing Moscow’s 1949 signature on the Geneva Convention concerning the defense of the civilian population during international armed conflicts, a Convention the UN has accused Russia of violating on Ukrainian territory by changing the ethnic mix in Crimea.

             Russia’s withdrawal from this convention means that the United Nations cannot formally condemn Moscow for the violation of the rights of civilians during war by acting on the accusations the UN has made (

            Commenting on this development, Vera Yastrebova of the Eastern Human Rights Group in Kyiv says that Putin is showing that “nothing will stop him” and that he has “carte blanche” for war,” now protected by “an additional indulgence in case of further violations” allowing Moscow to avoid responsibility (

            At the same time, however, by taking this action, Russia has in effect confirmed that it has been violating the Geneva Convention on the territory of Ukraine and thus wants to block any formal finding against it, the human rights activist says.  But this latest move shows even more disturbing things.

            By pulling out of the convention, “the Russian Federation has shown the entire international political community that law is not something written for it. Earlier there was still a mechanism for exerting influence on Russia, but as its aggression has gathered force, I do not see any evidence that Russia will suffer any real sanctions.”

            And as far as the Geneva Convention is concerned, that is likely to remain the case “even if Ukraine will assert that the convention governed the actions of the Russian Federation when ‘the little green men’ appeared in Crimea … and the occupation of parts of Donetsk and Luhansk territories began.”

            “The Geneva Convention is not effective in stopping Russian aggression, and thus the Russian Federation has shown that for it, the convention is not an argument or an authority. This is a message which shows the direction of the movement in Russian society,” Yastrebova continues.  

            What is occurring now is far more serious than many may think. Earlier, Putin attacked other countries with tanks; now he is undermining the formal structures of the international system with ostensibly “legal” arguments. He wants to ensure that he has “carte blanche for a new invasion” of yet another country or a repetition in Ukraine or Georgia. 

            “To stop not only Russia but any country which unleashes an aggressive policy, violates the rights of people and seizes the territory of sovereign states, there must be a consolidated position [among the leaders of the international community] which unfortunately we have sometimes not seen.”

            “When there is an enemy, we must all unite and understand that if today this enemy comes to Ukraine, then tomorrow he may go into Poland and/or resume the attack on Georgia which was begun in 2008,” Yastrebova says. And this is all the more likely because Rsusia has shown that for it, “international influence does not have any importance.”

            Instead, the Kremlin’s policy will be the one Putin and his minions make on the basis of their own calculations, calculations that now do not need to include even a polite bow in the direction of the Geneva Convention.

No comments:

Post a Comment