Hopes are high that Ukraine finally has a government that can learn from the past to foster needed reforms. But some of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s comments last week during a visit to Berlin raise questions about whether the government is willing to admit its own errors.
It’s been a year of searing images of horrifying mass civilian injury and death, from Gaza to eastern Ukraine. The world must set standards to curb resort to weapons with wide-area effects where many civilians are at risk.
In the outskirts of Donetsk, close to the airport, where fierce fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebels has been ongoing for months, shelling has become a part of everyday life. Local residents refer to rolls of industrial plastic wrap as "glass panes" — having once replaced the glass in shattered windows only to see it destroyed in the next blast, they now resort to pulling plastic over the windows to keep them sealed "till better times."
As states party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) convene for their annual meeting in November 2014, the matter of incendiary weapons is reaching a crossroads. Ongoing use of these exceptionally cruel weapons highlights the urgent need to take steps to prevent the civilian suffering they cause. Meanwhile, growing concern about incendiary weapons presents an opportunity to strengthen the international law governing them.
Evidence of the use of incendiary weapons in Ukraine and Syria highlights the need for stricter law to govern these weapons, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today with Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic.