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Three Options for the Veto Power After the War in Ukraine

If any good can come out of the war in Ukraine, it should be a resumption of the decade-long process in the United Nations aiming at reining in or even removing the veto power of the permanent members of the Security Council. President Zelensky’s recent call for reforming the veto system may help to create the necessary political momentum. Is restricting the use of or abolishing the veto power likely to happen? Perhaps not. The separate paths taken by the Russian Federation, China and ‘the West’, even apart from the current war, make any successful multilateral process an unlikely prospect – let alone a reform of the veto arrangement in the Security Council. But think again. With the vetoes that precluded the Security Council from acting in relation to the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Georgia, Crimea and Gaza and so on that are still fresh in our memory, the war in Ukraine is yet another unsettling demonstration of the adverse effect of the veto power.

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Russia’s Recognition of the ‘Separatist Republics’ in Ukraine was Manifestly Unlawful

The rush to judgment can be deceptive. A recent contribution to these pages cautions us against making instant assumptions of fact and law when considering Russia’s recognition as states of parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts within Ukraine as manifestly unlawful. Two questions arise: Do the Oblasts meet the criteria of statehood and, if so,…

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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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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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Council at War: Russia, Ukraine and the UN Security Council

‘It is the responsibility of this body to stop the war’, Ukraine’s representative told the UN Security Council on Wednesday this week. He was interrupted by the current President of the UN Security Council who clarified ‘this isn’t called a war, this is called a special military operation in the Donbas’. In this moment, the Ukrainean representative…

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