The District Court of Amsterdam found advertising of military recruitment for the war in Ukraine to be illegal

The Amsterdam court issued a decision in the case of the claim of the Ukrainian Victims of War Foundation against the Dutch-listed company Prosus.

PROSUS / AVITO

8/26/20221 min read

On July 15, 2022, the District Court of Amsterdam issued a decision in the case of the claim of the Ukrainian Victims of War Foundation (hereinafter - the Foundation), representing the interests of war victims in Ukraine, against the Dutch-listed company Prosus, the owner of one of the largest classifieds platform in Russia - Avito.ru.

The basis for the lawsuit was the alleged illegal actions of Avito and Prosus allowing publishing thousands of advertisements for the recruitment of soldiers and police officers including riot police (OMON) on avito.ru to be deployed for the accomplishment of military tasks on Ukrainian soil since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

Yuriy Mukhin, the Board member of the Ukrainian Victims of War foundation, says: “For the first time at the international level the illegality of advertisements for the recruitment of military and police officers for the war in Ukraine, which is currently abundant on most Russian recruiting sites, was analyzed by the court.

The District Court of Amsterdam in its decision directly recognized as illegal under international law advertisements for the recruitment of military personnel for the war taking place in Ukraine.

At the same time the Court did not categorize the police recruitment ads as illegal despite many confirmed cases of Russian riot police officers (OMON, SOBR) being deployed and later captured in Ukraine. The Foundation is currently considering the possibility of an appeal to expand the limits of the court's assessment of the illegality of the relevant ads on avito.ru. After all, the recruitment of these personnel by the Russian Federation is carried out highly likely for further deployment in Ukraine.

Additionally, the Foundation in its claim requested to guarantee that Avito will no longer be involved in recruiting people for war against Ukrainians in the case of its sale. On May 20, 2022, Prosus publicly announced that they decided to exit the Russian business. They are looking for a buyer to acquire its shares of Avito. The Amsterdam Court decided that Prosus could not have such an obligation to influence future buyers to comply with the ban on hiring soldiers and officers on the avito.ru platform.

In general, given the controversial results of the assessment of police recruitment ads on avito.ru in the decision of the District Court of Amsterdam dated July 15, 2022, the Ukrainian Victims of War Foundation explores the prospects for an appeal and develops a further plan of action to stop publication of military and police vacancies on Avito and other online platforms.