Immunity of the combatant: criminal and legal aspects


  • Oleksandr Zhytnyi


customs and rules of war, criminal responsibility, combatants, immunity


In the conditions of the war of liberation, which Ukraine is once again waging against the Russian invaders, its national criminal legal system, built for the conditions of peacetime and military-political stability, is forced to undergo transformations and changes. In particular, this system, as well as the subjects implementing the national criminal policy, have to respond to numerous new «criminal challenges» created by the conditions of war (acts of arbitrary and brutal deprivation of life and health of Ukrainian citizens (civilian and military) by the Russian occupiers large-scale destruction of property and its appropriation, illegal deprivation of personal will of Ukrainians, creation of occupation administrations and quasi-authorities on Ukrainian territory, attempts to make illegal changes to the territorial integrity of Ukraine, commission of war crimes by representatives of Russian armed groups, violations of the laws and customs of war by them).
One of the urgent problematic issues of the application of criminal law in conditions of war is responsibility (and its inevitability) for damage caused by the enemy and its specific representatives both during hostilities and their support, and outside the circumstances of conducting military operations. Its complexity, in particular, is connected with the recognition or denial of the recognition of the presence of the representatives of the contingent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine of the so-called «combatant immunity» and, accordingly, its influence on the criminal legal status of such persons and the prospects of their responsibility.