Tuesday, March 1, 2022

International Law Updates on Russian Invasion of Ukraine

There is so much happening in the Russian-Ukraine conflict right now, it is hard to keep up. But here are a few recent developments that may be of particular interest to international lawyers and international law scholars:

First, on February 26, Ukraine filed an application instituting proceedings against the Russian Federation at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for alleged violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Genocide Convention. The ICJ press release may be found here. Ukraine alleges that Russia has falsely claimed that Ukraine has committed acts of genocide in certain regions of Ukraine, using that to justify Russia's military intervention. Ukraine "emphatically denies" Russia's claims of genocide. Ukraine also alleges that Russia is planning acts of genocide in Ukraine and has requested provisional measures be ordered by the Court, specifically that the Court order Russia to immediately halt all military actions in Ukraine.

Second, Ukraine has filed an application to become a member of the European Union based on its commitment to European values. Pictures of Ukrainian President Zelensky have been circulated on social media showing him signing the declaration requesting membership.

Third, Ukraine has called on the United Nations to investigate war crimes by Russia. The U.N. Human Rights Council agreed yesterday to hold an emergency debate on the situation in Ukraine.

Fourth, the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced yesterday that he is opening an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine. Neither Ukraine nor Russia belong to the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court (ICC). However, Ukraine signed the ICC Statute and has submitted declarations accepting the ICC's jurisdiction over alleged crimes under the Rome Statute committed on its territory with respect to Russia activities there over the last decade.



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