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The Echo of Quiet Voices. Liechtenstein’s Veto Initiative and the American Six Principles

On 8 September 2022, the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced her government's intention to support efforts to reform the UN Security Council. The issue of exercising the right of veto on one's own behalf thus gained unprecedented momentum. Of “laugh tests” and “get-out-of-jail-free cards” The trigger was the Security Council’s failure to adopt S/2022/155 of 25 February 2022 due to the veto of Russia. It was a special constellation, because the draft introduced by the US and Albania dealt with a war of aggression by a permanent member of the Security Council itself. Russia tried to explain its veto with the already familiar bogus arguments that would already fail Thomas Franck's famous laugh test if the circumstances were not so worryingly disturbing. In a Joint Statement issued the same day, Thomas-Greenfield, said on behalf of 51 states that Russia had abused its power by vetoing the resolution. In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Samuel Moyn called the exercise of the veto…

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Disobeying the Security Council or a disobedient Security Council? The effects of jus cogens on Security Council resolutions in recent debates of the ILC and in the views of states

At the most recent plenary session of the International Law Commission, which concluded on 5 August 2022, one issue proved particularly controversial. Indeed, it proved so controversial that Prof. Tladi, Special Rapporteur on peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens), claimed that he was willing to fall on his sword over the issue, whereas Chinese ILC-member Prof. Huang insinuated…

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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…

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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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