Self-Determination

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Recognition

Tonight President Putin gave a long televised speech announcing the Russian Federation’s recognition of the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk republics in Eastern Ukraine as independent states. He also announced the signing of treaties of friendship and assistance with the two supposed newly independent states. This probably took place earlier in the evening – video of the signing ceremony here. While I very much doubt that international law – any version thereof, including distinct Russian approaches – has any kind of influence on President Putin’s decision-making regarding Ukraine, today or in the near future, it is also striking how Russia is, in fact, using the language of international law to justify its actions. There is an act of recognition, there are treaties, there is reliance on some kind of theory of remedial secession or self-determination in response to an alleged genocide. In doing so Russia is very much following its Crimea playbook, when the exact same steps preceded its forceful occupation and annexation of the territory, with…

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The New Palestinian Refugees

According to numbers The Guardian published on May 17, 2021, the current Israeli attack on Gaza has killed 200 Palestinians, including 59 children. 34,000 have been displaced from their homes. It is hard to assess the accuracy of these numbers. Very likely, the death toll will be higher: the violence has not ebbed, and bodies…

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At Daggers Drawn: International Legal Issues Surrounding the Conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh

On 10 November, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a Statement with the Russian Federation that fundamentally changes the scope of the conflict concerning Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding territories as well the status of the so-called “Republic of Artsakh” that had declared independence in early 1992. Even if it remains to be seen whether…

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Foreign Cyber Interference in Elections: An International Law Primer, Part II

Part I of this series examined attribution as the first element of cyber election interference as an internationally wrongful act, and then looked at the prohibition of intervention as a possible primary rule that such interference can breach. Now, in Part II, I will examine the possible breaches of the obligation to respect sovereignty and of international human…

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Editorial: The Legality of the Israeli Annexation – Redux

Once the American Administration recanted its long standing position as regards Israeli settlements, one could expect, as day follows night, that a shift on annexation would also follow, much to the delight of the Israeli government. It played well to the internal political agenda of both governments. In the case of settlements the State Department at least…

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