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The War of Aggression Against Ukraine, Cultural Property and Genocide: Why it is Imperative to Take a Close Look at Cultural Property

For too long, a great deal of energy has been invested in trying to decipher obscure statements made by Vladimir Putin (a true “masterclass of disinformation”: Åslund 2021; cf. Kappeler 2021). Now that Putin has started a war of aggression against Ukraine, it is high time that we take his denials of Ukrainian statehood and the appropriation of Ukrainian history seriously. His words have gained a whole different meaning against the backdrop of an armed aggression, in the course of which one of the first missiles hit a television tower in Kyiv just located next to the site of the Holocaust memorial Babyn Yar. The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy underscored the highly symbolic impact of this attack on the site of one of the largest WW2 mass graves in Europe: “Such a missile strike shows that for many people in Russia, our Kyiv is completely foreign. They know nothing about our capital. About our history […] But they have an order to erase our history. Erase our country. Erase us all.” In…

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After Hegemony: The Law on the Use of Force and the Ukraine Crisis

Most questions on the law on the use of force surrounding the Russian invasion in Ukraine are straightforward. There is simply no plausible legal justification for the invasion, and Putin’s attempt at creating one through recognizing the ‘people’s republics’ of Donetsk and Luhansk and then claiming collective self-defence and the need to protect them from Ukrainian ‘genocide’ is…

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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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Appointment of the Ad Hoc Conciliation Commissions under ICERD

The inter-State communications procedure under Articles 11-13 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) lay dormant for over 50 years before its activation in March-April 2018 in three inter-State communications, Qatar v Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2018), Qatar v United Arab Emirates (2018) and Palestine v Israel (2018). These were the first…

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