The Ukraine Conflict and Alleged War Crimes

One cannot follow the main-stream media about the Russo-Ukrainian War without the constant reference to “war crimes,” more often than not without any further analysis. The format tends to carry a byline that claims “experts say,” which is then followed by photos of damaged buildings or worse, but with little or no further explanation. The result is often superficial, and may create a false perspective as to what the improper war crime actually is. This presentation will focus on the international law applicable to this conflict and then discuss the many legal issues arising. In addition to the core laws concerning targeting in an armed conflict, specific issues such as the targeting of nuclear power plants, the legality of cluster munitions and the use of thermobaric weapons will be explored.

Major Warren Fensom has served in various CAF Legal Advisory positions in Canada and overseas. Career highlights include Legal Advisor to HMCS Winnipeg in NATO’s Counter-Piracy Mission and Chief of Legal Training at the Afghan National Army’s Military Legal School in Kabul. He is currently employed at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and also as a visiting professor on the Law of Armed Conflict at Queen’s University in Kingston and Bader College in Sussex UK. Warren is a former member of the Law Societies for New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. He received an Honours B.A. and his J.D. both from the University of Saskatchewan in 1972 and 1975 respectively.

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