Robinson Patman and Hogan Lovells Pro Bono teams bring war crimes claims against the russian federation

Robinson Patman and Hogan Lovells Pro Bono teams bring war crimes claims against the russian federation
11 October 2023, 11:22

11 October 2023 – Two British citizens, who were captured by russian-backed forces in April 2022 while fighting for the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Ukraine Marines in Mariupol, are due to have a full hearing of their cases heard by a Ukrainian Court, with the first substantial hearing taking place on 20 December. 

Robinson Patman, working with international law firm Hogan Lovells, Fountain Court Chambers and Matrix Chambers, is seeking compensation for war crimes committed by the Russian Federation against Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin. Both were sentenced to death by the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’, a Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory. While in detention they were exposed to highly unsanitary conditions and severe mistreatment which was in breach of the Geneva Conventions, that offers protection to prisoners of war.

The Robinson Patman team together with Hogan Lovells filed claims to the Ukrainian courts on behalf of Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin on a pro bono basis. The joint team of Ukrainian and international lawyers working on this case has elaborated the strategy for further enforcement of judgments of Ukrainian courts in the UK. We drafted court claims and gathered supporting materials, like medical records, and submissions on state immunity. The first substantial hearing taking place on 20 December, and final judgments are expected in 2024.  

Shaun Pinner, a former soldier in the British Army, joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces as a contracted fighter in 2018 and fought during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. His case will consider the torture he suffered, which included electric shocks, stabbing and extreme starvation. He was also forced to sing the Russian National Anthem on a daily basis.

Aiden Aslin, a British national, was also captured and tortured by the DPR. He and Shaun were eventually released as part of a prisoner exchange agreement. Five months after their capture, the two men returned to the UK and in December 2022 they were awarded the state ‘Order of Courage, 3rd Degree’ in a decree by President Zelensky for ‘selfless acts in the defence of sovereignty of Ukraine’. 

Dmytro Vidsota, Managing Partner said: “We believe that injustice must be accountable to justice. Justice is only achievable when there are those who choose to pursue it. There is hardly a family in Ukraine that has not been affected by the war, thousands of Ukrainian PoWs and civilians are going through the same as Aiden and Shaun did. This case is more than bringing justice for British citizens Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, but rather set a precedent for thousands of war victims who deserve fair compensation.”

Vladyslav Skyrda, Counsel, said: “These cases address several novel issues – e.g. how to ensure proper serving of documents to the defendant (russian state) and proper circumvent of russia’s state immunity. We are expecting the judgement will set a precedent for war victims and help them to get fair compensation. This is our contribution to the general struggle to support the vulnerable and hold russia to account for human rights abuses in Ukraine. We have gathered a brilliant team of lawyers working on this case, and hope that Russia will comply with the judgment. Otherwise, we shall seek compliance through enforcement of the judgment in the English Courts.”

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