CEELI Institute’s “Legal Skills in a Time of War” programme

During the past week I have had the honour of having been invited to and of participating at the CEELI Institute’s “Legal Skills in a Time of War” programme in Prague.

The two-weeks programme has collected a very strong international faculty and its goal was to give knowledge and information to a group of pre-selected Ukrainian students and young experts, dealing with legal questions related to the ongoing war on the territory of Ukraine. The participants of the programme have been extremely interested in the subject-matter and highly engaged in conversations and debates.

I have covered the subjects of use of force in international law, international humanitarian law and war crimes. Additionally, I have also assisted in the preparation of a mock trial practice, preparing participants to test their ideas and arguments.

I was very happy and grateful being involved in this project, and I am looking forward to further cooperation with CEELI and the colleauges working there and those I have met now for the first time. It was an honour of being a part of a group of a great international faculty from Estonia, UK and the USA, representing my country with not the best reputation these days when it comes to relationship with Russia, especially with the people of Ukraine.

Video recording of our online event about some burning questions of international law related to the Russia-Ukraine war

The open Russian aggression against Ukraine during February of 2022 has not only opened the usual questions of armed conflict situations, but also has applied tense pressure on new institutions of international law and European legal-political cooperation. Not often can we see the worst of international relations (actual use of force and armed violence) testing the best of international relations (multilateral cooperation in the framework legal-political organisations) on the European continent, where most countries are proud of being an active supporter of international organisations like the International Criminal Court.

How can the existing legal-political-institutional framework handle this conflict situation, and most importantly, the violations taking place during that? Is Europe, are the European institutions capable of providing stronger enforcement, or is this only an illusion?

Aleksandr Popov (Estonian Military Academy): General respect for international treaties and the possibility to limit use of force
Agnieszka Bieńczyk-Missala (University of Warsaw): Refugees of the conflict, with special attention paid to the Polish situation
Justinas Žilinskas (Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius): Criminal responsibility based on the Ukraine Criminal Code
Milan Lipovský (Charles University, Prague): Ad hoc tribunal for the crime of aggression. Good or bad idea?
Evhen Tsybulenko (Kyiv International University / TalTech Law School, Tallinn): Genocide and the possibility of new international criminal fora
Beatrice Onica Jarka (coordinator of the Romanian Competition of International Humanitarian and Refugee Law – Nicolae Titulescu): Measuring the impunity for international crimes: Scene of Crime – Ukraine
Tamás Lattmann (C4EP / University of New York in Prague / Tomori Pál College, Budapest): The role of the EU and European organisations