Event information

9 June 2022, 18:00-19:30

Downloads

Flyer >

The Wagner Group: Options for Justice

IHL Talks

Soldier holding a rifle Soldier holding a rifle

Since its creation around a decade ago, the Wagner Group has become notorious for its brutality. Its members have allegedly committed international crimes, in particular war crimes, in countries such as Ukraine, Libya, the Central African Republic, and Mali, among others. Furthermore, the group has been accused of various forms of ruthless violence such as using booby-traps and landmines in civilian areas in Libya, committing inhumane treatment of civilians as well as rapes and robberies against civilians in the Central African Republic.

This IHL Talk aims at clarifying the relevant frameworks of responsibility for the crimes committed by the Wagner troops. Panelists will notably address the following questions:

  • What is the status of Wagner Group members, are they PMSCs, mercenaries, or de facto members of the Russian armed forces? What legal framework governs their status?
  • Could the conduct of Wagner Group members be attributable to Russia or could Russia nevertheless have certain positive obligations – under international humanitarian law and international human rights law – in relation to crimes carried out by Wagner troops?
  • What are the avenues for holding the members of the Wagner Group criminally responsible and could the question of command responsibility of the Wagner Group leaders and Russian officials arise?

Moderation

  • Ana Srovin Coralli, Teaching Assistant, Geneva Academy and PhD Candidate, Graduate Institute
  • Revaz Tkemaladze, Teaching Assistant, Geneva Academy and PhD Candidate, University of Geneva Law Faculty

Panelists

  • Dr Jelena Aparac, United Nations Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries
  • Ibrahim al-Kasem, Syrian Lawyer, Executive Director, Caesar Files Group
  • Chiara Gabriele, Senior Legal Adviser, Trial International

About IHL Talks

The IHL Talks are a series of events, hosted by the Geneva Academy, on international humanitarian law and current humanitarian topics. Every two months, academic experts, practitioners, policymakers and journalists discuss burning humanitarian issues and their regulation under international law.

Video

The Wagner Group: Options for Justice

Watch or re-watch our  IHL Talk on accountability for the Wagner Group and its members.

Panelists notably discussed:

- The status of Wagner Group members: PMSCs, #mercenaries, or de facto members of the Russian armed forces and the legal framework that governs this status.

- Whether the conduct of Wagner Group members be attributable to Russia

- The avenues for holding the members of the Wagner Group criminally responsible and whether the question of command responsibility of the Wagner Group leaders and Russian officials arises.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Professor Marco Sassoli during an IHL class at the Geneva Academy News

Geneva Academy Professor presents to OSCE Member States Report on Violations of IHL in the Armed Conflict in Ukraine

13 April 2022

Professor Sassòli was in charge of the IHL part of the report that was presented on 13 April by the three experts to the OSCE Permanent Council. 

Read more

Cable network photo News

Assessing the Impact of Novel Technologies for Humanitarian Protection in Armed Conflict

10 May 2022

Our new Working Paper provides an overview of the various novel technologies that together form part of the ‘future digital battlefield’ and assesses some of the implications they have for humanitarian protection in armed conflict.

Read more

Logo of the Atlas Network Event

Women's Perspectives on a Career in International Law

6 July 2022, 13:00-14:30

In this online event co-organized with the ATLAS Network, prominent women in international law will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.

Read more

The International Court of Justice in session Short Course

Sources of Public International Law

Fall 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, looks at the sources from which public international law rules stem and at the entities that are empowered with the capacity of law-making in the international legal order. It aims at enabling participants to develop a global perception of the international normative system.

Read more

Short Course

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts

Spring 2023

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.

Read more

Central African Republic, Ouham province, village of Ouogo. International Humanitarian Law dissemination session to members of the Peoples' Army for the Restoration of Democracy. Project

From Words to Deeds: A Study of Armed Non-State Actors’ Practice and Interpretation of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Norms

Started in January 2017

This project aims at compiling and analysing the practice and interpretation of selected international humanitarian law and human rights norms by armed non-state actors (ANSAs). It has a pragmatic double objective: first, to offer a comparative analysis of IHL and human rights norms from the perspective of ANSAs, and second, to inform strategies of humanitarian engagement with ANSAs, in particular the content of a possible ‘Model Code of Conduct’.

Read more

Mine Project

Business, Human Rights and Conflict-Affected Regions

Started in July 2021

This project aims to further identify and clarify policies and practices for States and business, including public and private investors, across the full ‘conflict cycle’ and the ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ pillars of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Read more

Cover of the Publication Publication

The Future Digital Battlefield and Challenges for Humanitarian Protection: A Primer

published on April 2022

Henning Lahmann

Read more

Videos

The Wagner Group Options for Justice

The Wagner Group Options for Justice

Russia and Ukraine

Russia and Ukraine

Book Launch: Rebel Courts

Book Launch: Rebel Courts