General Assembly

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Russia and the UN Human Rights Council: A Step in the Right Direction

The United Nations General Assembly has voted to suspend Russia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council. This is only the second time in the Council’s 16 year history that a member has been suspended under GA resolution 60/251 paragraph 8 for committing ‘gross and systematic violations of human rights’. While that seems a relatively benign bar for suspension, bear in mind that many countries that have sat on the Council have at the same time been committing grave human rights abuses. The suspension of Russia is a strong and clear signal that the world’s foremost intergovernmental organisation condemns the atrocities being perpetrated in Ukraine. Some commentators might argue that being suspended from the Human Rights Council does nothing to prevent ongoing abuses by Russia in Ukraine. Many people focus solely on the Security Council, insisting that nothing short of removing Russia’s veto power will do anything to protect Ukrainians from the rapes, torture, and killing being carried out by Russia’s armed forces and mercenaries.

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EJIL:The Podcast! Episode 14 – “From Russia With War”

In this episode Philippa Webb, Marko Milanovic and I are joined by Rebecca Barber (Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect) and Mike Becker (Trinity College Dublin) to examine various aspects of Russia’s war on Ukraine. The discussion begins with an evaluation of Russia’s legal justification for invading Ukraine, moving to…

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Could Russia be Suspended from the United Nations?

The General Assembly is currently meeting in Emergency Special Session on Ukraine, and will likely pass a resolution condemning Russia’s aggression, demanding the withdrawal of troops, and urging a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Such a resolution will be an important step, but also begs the question: if these appeals for peace are not heeded, what could be…

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What can the UN General Assembly do about Russian Aggression in Ukraine?

Yesterday Devika Hovell wrote an excellent post on this forum, rightly noting that the Security Council was not the body to deal with Russian aggression in Ukraine. Hovell pointed to the General Assembly as the most appropriate alternative, and suggested that the Security Council should pass a ‘Uniting for Peace’ (U4P) resolution, referring…

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Is the ICJ at Risk of Providing Cover for the Alleged Genocide in Myanmar?

The first anniversary of the coup mounted by the Myanmar military was marked by a surprising step. On 1 February 2022, the National Unity Government of the Union of Myanmar (NUG) made a declaration to the International Court of Justice. The government, which mainly consists of those elected representatives not yet captured by the military regime, was created…

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