Elaboration of International and Cuban Law Against Cubans Fighting for Russia Against Ukraine       

Previous posts have discussed whether Cubans who fight for Russia against Ukraine are violating Cuban law.[1]

A recent article clearly looks at the published facts and the relevant international and Cuban law and concludes that the Cuban Government and the individual Cubans participating in that war are violating international and Cuban law.[2] Here are the points in that legal analysis:

International Law:

  • “On December 4, 1989, the UN General Assembly approved the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries. Unlike other international treaties, in this case there was no signature or ratification process. All member states of the organization [including Cuba] are obliged to comply with it.”
  • “In accordance with this international treaty, States parties undertake not to resort to the recruitment, use, financing or training of mercenaries, and to prohibit such activities.”
  • Furthermore, under this treaty, “States have the duty to extradite or prosecute mercenaries found in their territory, regardless of whether the crime was committed there or elsewhere, as well as to denounce and collaborate in the justice processes that have been carried out to continue against mercenarism.”
  • “According to [the treaty’s] articles 4, 5 and 6 and others, States Parties that do not cooperate in the prevention of crimesor fail to take all measures to prevent them from being committed in their respective territories will be complicit in mercenarism.”

Cuban Law:

  • “Article 8 of the Cuban Constitution says that everything prescribed in the international treaties in force for the Republic of Cuba will be part of the internal legal system, which also obliges the Cuban State to respect the [above] convention.”
  • “The [Cuban] Penal Code approved in May 2022 and put into force in December punishes those who commit the crime of mercenarism with sentences of ten to 30 years of deprivation of liberty or the death penalty.”
  • Article 135 of the Cuban Penal Code defines a mercenary as “any person who, in order to obtain the payment of a salary or other type of remuneration or personal benefit,joins military formations, or private military companies, wholly or partially integrated by individuals who are not citizens of the State in whose territory they propose to act.”


[1] See, e.g., these posts to dwkcommentaries.com: Cuban Criminal Prosecution of “Trafficking Network” for Recruiting Cubans for Russian Armed Forces (Sept. 7, 2023); Cuba Arrests 17 Linked to Russian Trafficking Network Recruiting Cubans for War in Ukraine (Sept. 8. 2023); COMMENT: Moscow Denies It Recruits Cubans for Ukraine War (Sept. 9, 2023); Conflicting News About Cubans Fighting for Russia Against Ukraine (Sept. 12, 2023); More Conflicting News About Cubans Fighting for Russia Against Ukraine While U.S. Continues Anti-Cuban Policies (Sept. 16, 2023);Cuban Foreign Minister: Cubans May Not Legally Fight in Foreign Wars (Sept. 17, 2023);More Details on Cubans Fighting for Russia in Ukraine (Sept. 19, 2023).

[2] Mirabal, Cuban laws force the regime to imprison mercenaries recruited for Russia’s war against Ukraine, Diario de Cuba (Sept. 22, 2023).

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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