UN Security Council: Ignazio Cassis calls for respect of Geneva Conventions and withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine


New York, 24.02.2023

 Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the FDFA, took part in a high-level UN Security Council debate in New York on February 24 ,2023. Mr Cassis called for the withdrawal of Russia’s armed forces present on Ukraine’s sovereign territory for a year and for respect of the Geneva Conventions. He also underscored Switzerland’s commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

“After a year of war, we must combine our strengths, ideas and resources to restore a sense of security in Europe and ensure a return to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine,” said Mr Cassis before the Security Council. He reiterated his call on Russia to cease hostilities without delay, reminding all belligerents of their obligation to respect the Geneva Conventions. The latter set limits on the savagery of war and protect those who are not or no longer participating in hostilities. “We must never forget what defines us as human beings: our spirit of humanity,” Mr Cassis said.

Ignazio Cassis, Swiss Federal Councillor at the UN Security Council

As a permanently neutral country, Switzerland fully respects its obligations under the law of neutrality. It does not favour any of the belligerents militarily. Still, as Mr Cassis recalled, “neutrality does not mean indifference to violations of international law”.

He stressed that “Switzerland stands ready to bring all parties to the table in order to bolster respect for international humanitarian law and ultimately achieve peace.”

Switzerland, together with 40 other countries, has referred the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court, calling on all states to cooperate with the court so that justice can be served and peace can be built on solid foundations.

The day before the Council debate, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution by a large majority (141 votes), with Mr Cassis in attendance. The resolution calls on states and international organisations to strengthen their support for diplomatic efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in keeping with the UN Charter, and on Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory.