States and Statehood

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Setting the Cat amongst Pigeons: Kosovo’s Application for Membership of the Council of Europe

Kosovo is one of the few places in Europe not party to the European Convention on Human Rights due to a legacy conflict with Serbia. Kosovo declared independence in 2008 after a bloody war followed by a period of international administration, but this is strongly disputed by Serbia which claims exclusive sovereignty over the entire territory. The conflict has given rise to a protracted stalemate which has directly limited Kosovo’s ability to engage with, and benefit from, Europe’s human rights protection system. In spite of this, for more than 10 years, successive Kosovo Governments have committed to applying for membership of the Council of Europe (CoE) imminently. In 2013, then Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, made the most decisive moves towards lodging an application, describing it as the “next natural step” following Kosovo’s admittance to the CoE Development Bank and the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission). However, the letter of application never came. Then on 12 May 2022, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign…

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Anarchy and Anachronism: An Existential Challenge for International Law

The war in Ukraine has opened our eyes to two things that have long been there to be seen.  The post-1945 world order has collapsed into a new world disorder. The utopian dream of inevitable social progress across the human world has revealed itself as an illusion. History has ended, not in improbable optimism but in a sense…

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

In this post I will not be addressing the legality of Russia’s use of force against Ukraine, but that of its recognition of the separatist republics in Ukraine as independent States. This recognition has been described by numerous other States as not only unlawful, but as a manifest or flagrant breach of international law. For example, the words…

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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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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…

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