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Sanctions Imposed on Private Investors by the US and the UK in the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict: Justifiable as Countermeasures in the Law of International Responsibility?

Scenario and Problems The conflict between Russia and Ukraine continued to elicit international reactions from States beyond the pair at the epicentre of concern. Just a few months ago, the Secretary of State of the United States issued a press statement, announcing sanctions on USM Holdings owned by the Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov and his other companies, in cooperation with the UK. The actions involve blocking all property and interests in property of the designated companies. USM Holdings criticised the financial measures for being ‘unfair and unreasonable’, citing Usmanov’s holdings of less than 50% and his lack of involvement in the company’s management for a significant period. There could of course be debates about the characteristics of these sanctions on a conceptual level. For instance, one might believe that they constitute retorsion, namely unfriendly yet legal responses under international law. The assumption in this piece is that these sanctions are prima facie wrongful, as they are likely…

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Could the Lafarge Settlement provide Reparations for Victims of ISIL?

On 18 October 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to a historic plea deal in the Lafarge proceedings, marking a significant development in the field of corporate accountability and terrorism. In the first ever U.S. prosecution of its kind, the Lafarge corporation (at the time one of the two largest construction companies in the world) and…

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Enforcing Sanctions Violations to Fund the Reconstruction of Ukraine

Introduction As the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine continues into its second year, Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery is estimated by the World Bank to cost, at a minimum, $411 billion. With no realistic prospect of a negotiated settlement to the conflict in sight, Ukraine and its international partners are rightfully seeking pathways to fund…

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Corporate accountability and Iranian drones in the Ukraine war: Could sanctions lead to prosecutions for international crimes?

Throughout the Ukraine conflict, allegations have been made against foreign businesses for providing various types of direct or indirect support for Russia’s military attacks. Most recently, firms were placed under US sanctions on 15 November 2022 for ‘the production or ongoing transfer to Russia of Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles used by Russia [in] devastating attacks…

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The European Union’s Sanctioning of Russian Military Officers: An Urge for Caution

Introduction As of 21 July 2022, the European Union (EU) has adopted seven rounds of restrictive measures (commonly referred to as ‘sanctions’) against the Russian Federation following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The latest two rounds (adopted on 3 June and 21 July 2022, respectively) – in addition to containing…

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