The Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 witnessing the Russian troops crossing the Ukraine boarders and explosions in cities including Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, has heightened the risk of human rights violation. The unprovoked invasion proceeded by a month long amassment of more than 1,00,000 Russian troops on the Ukraine boarders not only threatened rights of civilians but a clear violation of international humanitarian law. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated 150,000 people in Ukraine have fled their homes after the Russian invasion and. several thousand of them have crossed into Moldova, Romania and other neighboring countries. The UNHCR urged the Ukraine’s neighboring countries to open their boarders and accept the displaced people.
As reported, the cities of Ukraine are under siege as airstrikes, rolling of Russian tanks and gunfire took hundreds of Ukrainian lives by Sunday morning. The residents of Kyiv were warned to take safe shelter and not to expose themselves to gunfire. The situation in eastern Ukraine is getting worse as reported the new babies in hospitals are being getting shifted to basement of a building to avoid possible missile attacks.
The human rights bodies have warned of further escalating of violation of human rights by making civilians vulnerable to conflict, loss of livelihood, accesses to food and mass displacements. The unanimous reports suggest that the war in Ukraine will lead to large scale innocent deaths and gross violation of human rights. Just before the invasion and immediately after the Russia’s recognization of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as independent states by signing agreements with their separatist leaders in the Kremlin, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged both sides to cease hostilities and to pave the way for dialogue instead of setting the stage for further violence. She expressed her concern by stressing that ‘any significant escalation in military action creates a heightened risk of serious human rights violations as well as violations of international humanitarian law’.
The concern expressed by the Chief of the UN Human Rights body and her clarion call did not yield any result as Russia invaded Ukraine two days after recognizing the Ukrainian territories as independent states .The leaders of various countries of the world have expressed that the Russian invasion has the potential to become largest military intervention in Europe since World War II and in this context it is necessary to examine the development of international law, humanitarian and human rights law following World War II.
INTERNATIONAL LAW AND TERRITORIAL INVASIONS:
International law which governs the relations between different countries, primarily arise out of the treaties, covenants, pacts singed by the countries. The establishment of United Nations Organization immediately after the havoc created by the World War II, played a pivotal role in the development of international law, humanitarian and human rights law. The countries by becoming the member of United Nations are committed to be bound by the UN Charter.
The purposes of United Nations as set out in Article 1 of the UN Charter are aimed to maintain international peace and security and to that end take collective measures to prevent aggressions and threat to peace though peaceful means in conformity with the principles of international law. Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter urges its members to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. However, Article 51 of the UN Charter saves the inherent right of any individual member or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of United Nations. The only exception to prohibition of use of force is self –defense in case of an armed attack.
There cannot be any legal justification for Russian invasion as there is hardly any action of Ukraine which can be construed as ‘an armed attack’. U.N. Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres taking note of the situation of invasion, on 24 February 2022 called on Russia to stop its fast-moving ground invasion of Ukraine. In his statement he emphasized that “the use of force by one country against another is the repudiation of the principles that every country committed to uphold. This applies to the present military offensive. It is wrong. It is against the (United Nations) Charter. It is unacceptable”.
As per the statement of the UN Secretary General Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign nation, directly conflicts with the United Nations Charter, an agreement that guides the work of the U.N. and its 193 member states. Therefore, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is illegal.
INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW:
International humanitarian law also known as laws of war is a part of international law protects civilians in an armed conflict. It is a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare (ICRC).
The rules of international humanitarian law applies once a war or armed conflict breaks out. It is not the scope of international humanitarian law to prohibit invasion or declare an invasion in territorial independence of a country is illegal which is the subject matter of international law.
The major components of international humanitarian law refers to Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Subsequent Conventions, Protocols established under the aegis of International Committee of Red Cross with its emphasis on protection of victims of war and human treatment of persons who do not take part in war; the Conventions and treaties prohibiting the use of certain weapons under the aegis of United Nations in furtherance of UN’s fundamental objectives to secure peace and prevention of armed conflict.
The laws of war or international humanitarian law is based on the principle of proportionality which means only the attacks would be limited to the military objectives. The attack on the civilian objects such residential areas, schools, business centres, hospitals are prohibited. The foremost rule of humanitarian law is to distinguish between the combatants and the civilian and to protect the civilians. It requires the parties to a conflict must distinguish between civilians and combatants. Any attack on civilians during the war are treated as war crimes. Humanitarian law also prohibits the starvation of civilians and attack on natural environment. The law requires women and children are to be provided with special measures and journalists working on dangerous missions are treated as civilians and are to be protected.
Human rights limits the state’s authority in interference of its peoples /citizens civil and political rights and ensures the realization of economic and social rights. It considers freedom is at the core of human beings and urges economic and social needs of the people. Human rights and it legal protections have assumed importance soon after the Second World War with the establishment of United Nations. The Univeral Declaration of Human Rights ,1948 adopted by the United Nations sets out the fundamental human rights which are to be universally protected. The subsequent adoption of European Convention of Human Rights, 1950 and International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights,1966 affirmed the entitlement of every individual’s enjoyment of human rights in terms of war as well as peace. However, as per Article 4 of International Convenant of Civil and Political Rights and Article 15 of European Convention of Human Rights allow a state to temporarily suspend their obligation under the convenant and conventions in case of an emergency threatening a nation. Whereas, international humanitarian law recognizes the need for safeguarding human rights at the time of war and the Geneva Convention of 1949 provides for humanly treatment of persons at the time of armed conflict without any distinction.
Both Ukraine and Russia are parties to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), but Ukrainians have been subjected to human rights deprivations following Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula since 2014 and Russia’s policy of supporting separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the Ukrainian government. As per UN the conflict has taken more than 13,000 lives.Reportedly, more than 1.5 million people have been internally displaced and there are numerous instances of commission of war crimes. The UN reports that the media persons, human rights activists and persons who earlier criticized Russian invasion of Crimea were subjected violence and attack. Now it is feared that gross violation of human rights is going take place as Russia is going to target the individuals who take anti- Russia views and anti-war protesters. The human rights organizations and even US Ambassador to UN expressed deep concern about human rights violations and abuses are being planned by Russia in the aftermath of invasion.
The recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia is not only a clear violation of international law but the ongoing armed conflict in the cities and taking into account the commission of war crimes and gross violation of human rights by the Russian forces during the annexation of Crimea, there can not be any doubt that international humanitarian law and human rights are at stake in Ukraine.
Bhagabati Prasad Padhy, is a practicing Advocate in Supreme Court of India.
Human rights and legal protections have assumed importance soon after the Second World War with the establishment of United Nations. The Univeral Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 adopted by the United Nations sets out the fundamental human rights which are to be universally protected. The subsequent adoption of European Convention of Human Rights, 1950 and International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights,1966 affirmed the entitlement of every individual’s enjoyment of human rights in terms of war as well as peace
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Major push to Make in India in defence sector
To give a major push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atamanirbhar Bharat mission, the Indian Army has joined hands with various technology firms to cater to the demands of the present security scenario.
The Army says if it has to remain operational all around, it cannot rely on obsolete technology hence latest advancement in the sector have to be adopted.
“The Northern Command is always combat ready in the times to come, the challenges will continue to increase so we have to rely on advance technology and keep on innovating,” Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi told The Daily Guardian on the sidelines of the Northern Technology Symposium held in Udhampur on Sunday.
North Tech Symposium was organized under the aegis of HQ Northern Command at Udhampur. Technology symposium, exhibition was organised wherein 162 companies from Indian defence industry including MSMEs, DRDO, DPSU, participated and exhibited their products.
In addition, 42 innovative solutions by Army establishments towards enhancement of combat potential of the Army were also on display. Lt Gen BS Raju, Vice Chief of Army Staff inaugurated the first of its kind technology symposium in Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing the event, vice-chief of Army staff Lt Gen V S Raju said that he would have appreciated if the investors, capital ventures would have also shown interest in the event to boost the new start-up.
“To cope up with the ever-evolving and ever-changing security scenario, we also need to adopt changes and keep on innovating. I am happy that so many companies have shown interest to showcase their products at the North Tech Symposium. I am hopeful that in near future, many of the products would be put in use by the armed forces,” General Raju said.
In the wake of recent incidence of drone dropping in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab from across the Indo-Pak border, various companies have displayed their products including anti- drone system, drone jammer which can strengthen the forces and border guarding forces to thwart Pakistan’s plan of disturbing peace.
Other than drone dropping threats, detection of tunnels on Jammu and Kashmir border is also a major threat for the security forces these days as 11 tunnels have been detected on Indian-Pakistan border in the past few years. There was number of companies which showcased their products to detect underground tunnels by using artificial intelligence and special radar.
The symposium saw active participation from of senior officers from different forces including IDS, Army HQ, HQ ARTRAC, other Commands, HQ Northern Command, and its subordinate formations. This interactive platform for knowledge diffusion through Joint Army-Industry participation was an important step in the direction of the government’s initiative of “Make in India”.
On the first day of the seminar, the participants from Army and industry discussed the policy and procedures for expeditious procurement, Raksha Atmanirbharta initiatives by Indian Army, DRDO and Defence Public Sector Undertakings, how can private sector contribute towards surveillance system, weapon sights, drones and counter drone system and miscellaneous technologies like 3D printing.
The symposium served to showcase cutting edge technologies and innovative products providing solutions to some of the complex challenges faced by the security forces in Northern Command and also acted as an ideal platform for mutual exchange of ideas between the domestic defence industry and the Army. The technologies and products on display covered a wide canvas, the prominent ones being surveillance and situational awareness, tactical mobility, firepower, force protection, communications, combat medical facility, robotics and simulators.
The symposium was a huge success and Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, AVSM lauded the initiative and innovations of all the vendors. The General Officer expressed his conviction that the plethora of technologies available indigenously can further boost the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” project of the nation. The spirit of Atmanirbharta demands that research and development, the domestic defence industry and Army have work in a synchronized manner to realise the nation’s vision.
ARMY MAJOR SUCCUMBS TO INJURIES DURING OPERATION IN KASHMIR
An Indian Army Major lost his life after slipping into a ravine during a counter-infiltration operation in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
Late Major Raghunath Ahlawat, 34 was leading his team on a counter-infiltration operation based on reliable intelligence input. “To identify a safe approach for the team he led from the front while carrying out reconnaissance on a route through a steep cliff. “Unfortunately, he slipped due to bad weather and slippery conditions and fell 60 meters into a ravine. Critically injured, he succumbed to his injuries enroute while being evacuated to the nearest Army Hospital,” Indian Army officials said in a statement.
The Army paid tribute to the officer in a ceremony held in the Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar led by Chinar Corps Commander Lieutenant General DP Pandey.
Major Ahlawat was commissioned into the Army in 2012 and hails from Dwarka, New Delhi and is survived by his wife and his parents.
The mortal remains of Late Maj Raghunath Ahlawat were taken for last rites to his native place, where he would be laid to rest with full military honours.
FOR 114 FIGHTER JETS, IAF FAVOURS ‘BUY GLOBAL MAKE IN INDIA’ ROUTE
For over USD 20 billion tender for manufacturing 114 multi-role fighter aircraft (MRFA) the Indian Air Force (IAF) would prefer to take the ‘Buy Global Make in India’ route over the strategic partnership policy model to produce the planes within the country.
‘Buy Global Make in India’ is a category of procurement process provided in the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 under Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to smoothen the acquisition of foreign weapon systems and their production within the country under the ‘Make in India’ in the defence programme. Along with the indigenous LCA Tejas and the 5th Generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft project, the 114 MRFA project would also be required by the IAF to maintain an edge over both the Northern and Western adversaries. We would prefer to go in for the Buy Global Make in India route which is preferred by the vendors also who are expected to take part in the programme, government sources said. Three American aircraft including the F-18, F-15 and F-21 (modified version of the F-16), Russian Mig-35 and Su-35 along with the French Rafale, Swedish Saab Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft are expected to participate in the programme. The Indian Air Force had also sought the views of these companies on the acquisition procedure that they would like to opt for in the programme and most of them have shown a preference for the Buy Global Make in India route only, they said.
The sources said that the force has also sought directions from the government on the project.
INDIA GETS DEFENCE SUPPLIES FROM RUSSIA, BUT PAYMENT MAY BECOME AN ISSUE
Amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, defence supplies from Moscow are continuing as the Indian defence forces have received a shipment of overhauled aircraft engines and spares. However, there is concern about whether this would continue in the near future as a solution for making payment to Russia has not yet been found.
“The defence forces have received shipments from the Russians very recently and it is still on. So far, there has not been any glitch in supplies for our forces,” a government source told ANI.
“However, there are concerns on whether these supplies can continue in the same manner as the Indian side cannot make payments to these Russian firms in view of the sanctions related to their banks,” he added.
The sources said the Indian and Russian sides are working to find a way this issue can be overcome and many options are being explored.
The latest supplies from Russia included overhauled fighter aircraft engines and spares for an aircraft fleet and they arrived through the sea route, the sources said.
India also received the final parts of the S-400 Triumf air defence system from Russia whose first squadron is operational with its elements deployed to take care of threats from both Pakistan and China.
India is one of the largest users of Russian weaponry including major platforms like fighter jets, transport aircraft, helicopters, warships, tanks, infantry combat vehicles and submarines.
Over the last couple of decades, it has broadened its source base by including equipment from countries like the US, France and Israel in a big way but the dependence on Russia still remains very high.
The Air Force is dependent majorly on the Russian supplies as its mainstay Su30 aircraft fleet is Russian along with its Mi-17 helicopter fleet.
The Army is also dependent on the Russian-origin T-90 and T-72 tank fleet for the armoured regiments.
IAF, ARMY BRASS WILL ASSESS LAC SITUATION
The top brass of the Indian Army and Air Force would be assessing the preparedness of their forces and infrastructure requirements along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as the militaries of both India and China continue to remain in a standoff position in eastern Ladakh.
The Indian Air Force brass would be meeting this week from 6 April to discuss the security situation including air operations along the northern borders. The Indian Army commanders led by Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane would be assessing the present deployments along eastern Ladakh and the northeastern sectors from 18 April onwards in the bi-annual commanders’ conference.
The top brass of the Indian Army had jointly discussed the infrastructure requirements and developments required by the Indian side from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh during a conference in Lucknow recently.
India has made several changes in its deployments post aggression shown by Chinese troops in April-May 2020.
India and China have been talking to each other at both military and diplomatic levels to address the issues but so far they have not been able to do so mainly because of Chinese reluctance. In recent talks to address the Patrolling Point 15 friction, they proposed a solution that was not acceptable to the Indian side.
Indian security establishment led by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has been of the view that the issue would be resolved only if the Chinese completely disengaged and went back to pre April 2020 positions.The Indian side has strengthened its deployments manifold all along the LAC. The Indian Air Force has also started building advanced bases in the forward areas including infrastructure to operate fighter jets and attack helicopters from the forward fields such as Nyoma.
Sharp fall in infiltration of foreign terrorists, stone pelting: CRPF DG
There has been a sharp decline in the infiltration of foreign terrorists as well as in stone-pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 from the erstwhile state, Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Kuldiep Singh said on Thursday.
However, noting the targeted killings in Jammu and Kashmir, the officer said, “Some time there is a spurt in terrorist incidents” and the recent killing in “periodic series” are among those, and “it occurs”. Replying to queries during a press briefing here at the CRPF Headquarters, Singh said, “CRPF immediately try to control terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir soon after it gets inputs. These incidents are not totally controlled by internal terrorist people who are there. On many occasions, it is controlled by those sitting across the border and it is directed whom to be targeted or not.”
The CRPF DG reiterated that “some directions comes from foreign lands too”, and thus, “terrorist incidents some times increase and sometimes decrease” “It does not mean that things are out of hand…You can see that the incidents of stone-pelting are almost nil. There has been a sharp decline in the number of infiltration of foreign terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir. Sometimes, there is a spurt in terrorist incidents but it happens,” he said.
The officer informed that the CRPF has neutralized 175 terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir and apprehended 183 from March 1, 2021, to March 16, 2022.
Meanwhile, the CRPF has recovered 253 arms from Jammu and Kashmir and seized 7,541 ammunition as well as 96.38 kg explosives, 23 Improvised Explosive Device (IED), 232 grenades, and 36 detonators from the Union Territory, Singh said. Further, he informed that as many as 91 encounters have taken place from March 1, 2021, to March 16 this year. CRPF is the premier Central Armed Police Force (CRPF) entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding the internal security of the country. It is deployed across the length and breadth of the country, assisting various state police in the discharge of their duties. CRPF is providing security cover to 117 protectees of various categories, he said adding that 32 women personnel have been inducted into the VIP Security Wing.
A total of 41 VIPs were provided security cover by the CRPF during recently concluded Assembly elections in five states, the DG said adding that the security of 27 protectees has been withdrawn post-elections. The CRPF chief also said that under financial assistance from the risk fund, ex-gratia for personnel martyred in action has been increased to Rs 30 lakhs from Rs 20 lakhs, and for all other cases, the ex-gratia has been increased to Rs 20 lakhs from Rs 15 lakhs.
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