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Ukraine’s ICJ Provisional Measures: A Narrow Path to Remedies

On February 2, the International Court of Justice dealt Ukraine’s case against Russia under the Genocide Convention a heavy blow when it dismissed the majority of the claims for lack of jurisdiction. The decision effectively transformed the case into one about whether Ukraine violated international law (by committing genocide), a far cry from Ukraine’s original application. And it appears to preclude any meaningful remedy for Russia’s brutal war at the merits stage. But Russia’s blatant breach of Ukraine’s provisional measures, which are binding, raises the possibility that the final judgment could nevertheless address Russia’s aggression, albeit indirectly. This post discusses the jurisdictional judgment’s implications for Ukraine’s two key provisional measures–the orders that Russia should suspend its military operations in Ukraine and ensure that no armed units or other persons within its control contribute to those operations. (The third measure, which prohibits either state from aggravating the dispute, probably survives until the merits judgment but is much more limited in scope.) The judgment’s effect…

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Beginning of the End or End of the Beginning? Exploring the UN Climate Change Regime through the Lens of Ukraine

The latest study from January 2024 indicates that we are not on track to meet the goal of the Paris Agreement and predicts global warming to reach 2 degrees Celsius by 2050. Continuing substantial fossil fuel use for decades longer constitutes a tragic moral failure of immense proportions. The narrow chance remains to correct course by radically…

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Collateralising Russia’s Frozen Currency Reserves: A Creative Solution, Playing for Time, or Both?

The past several weeks have seen a new-ish development in the ongoing saga concerning the fate of the Central Bank of Russia’s (CBR) frozen foreign currency reserves. According to the Financial Times, the G7’s discussions have shifted towards issuing bonds backed by CBR assets for Ukraine’s benefit. Two unnamed officials cited by the FT described…

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What I Didn’t Hear at the International Law Conference in Ukraine

‘Are you a Russian spy?’ The question came over dinner, between the grilled vegetables and the tongue with mushrooms, in the opulent House of Scientists in Lviv, western Ukraine. At the ‘Stand Tall for the Rule of Law Summit,’ held from 8-10 December 2023, American and Ukrainian officials, legal advisers, and academics gathered to support…

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Time for another Ukrainian Genocide Case?

In his as ever instant and persuasive reporting and analysis, Marko Milanovic has drawn attention to the rather unusual and, presumably for Ukraine, unexpected result in the jurisdictional phase of the Ukraine/Russian Federation genocide case. The case appears to reverse the thrust of the Preliminary Measures Order decided by the ICJ just weeks after the invasion…

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