Lawfare as part of hybrid wars: The experience of Ukraine in conflict with Russian Federation
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Institute of International Relations, Department of International Law, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine
Zakhar Tropin   

Institute of International Relations, Department of International Law, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Melnikova Street, Kyiv, Ukraine
Submission date: 2020-11-02
Final revision date: 2020-12-29
Acceptance date: 2020-12-29
Online publication date: 2021-03-23
Publication date: 2021-03-31
Security and Defence Quarterly 2021;33(1)
The main objective of the article is to prove the need for the state to have a centralised legal strategy to ensure the protection of state interests on an international level during a hybrid conflict. Centralisation of control and the planning and implementation of legal actions on an international level are core elements of such a strategy, especially for actions under the jurisdiction of international institutions. This article provides an analysis of treaties and of the practice of adjudication in Ukraine during the conflict with the Russian Federation. The findings of the study show that the legal dimension of hybrid conflict has some sub-levels: legal actions of states in hybrid conflicts taken at interstate level; the level of enterprises controlled by the state; and the private level. The practice of Ukraine shows that the exercising of a multilevel legal encounter during a hybrid war faces a number of problems including the intersection of actions (sometimes even direct conflict), even among authorities involved in the legal protection of state interests; and problems with collecting and analysing the information necessary to protect state interests in the legal dimension; state authorities that are not directly involved in a legal encounter may exercise actions which will complicate the legal position of the state. One of the first steps taken by the state in a hybrid conflict is, therefore, to create special authority or entrust an existing one with the coordination of the functions of lawfare. The next step of such an authority is the strategic "programming" of the opponent's legal actions with the aim of achieving an advantage in the legal dimension of a hybrid conflict.
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