Death of New Zealand soldier in Ukraine

Posted on 29 August 2022

The death of New Zealander Dominic Abelen (an off-duty NZDF soldier) fighting in eastern Ukraine last week has raised a number of legal questions for many. Under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Laws of Armed Conflict, his participation in the war may be considered lawful.
Even if lawful, the sensitivities of foreign enlistment can create serious diplomatic and practical headaches for the soldier’s home country, writes Dr Marnie Lloydd (Lecturer, Victoria University). Dr Lloydd is Associate-Director of New Zealand Centre for Public Law, and former staff member at New Zealand Red Cross.