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What a Demilitarized Zone Means for Liability and Responsibility for Transboundary Harm Emanating from Zaporizhzhia: Some Preliminary Thoughts

‘We cannot continue this situation where we are one step away from a nuclear accident. The safety of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is hanging by a thread.’ This was the alarming observation made by Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”), at a Board of Governors meeting taking place on 12 September 2022. These comments came at the aftermath of findings published by the IAEA Support and Assistance Mission to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia NPP (“ISAMZ”) that a shelling operation from 5 – 6 August 2022, had ‘compromised all of the [IAEA’s indispensable] Seven Pillars [of nuclear safety and security]’ (2nd Summary Report by the Director General, ¶8). On 11 August 2022, Grossi told the United Nations Security Council that ‘IAEA experts have preliminarily assessed that there is no immediate threat to nuclear safety as a result of the shelling or other recent military actions. However, this could change at any moment’. These sentiments were echoed by…

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Are sabotage of submarine pipelines an ‘armed attack’ triggering a right to self-defence?

On 26 and 27 September 2022, explosions damaged NordStream 1 and NordStream 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea (here). These are major transboundary pipelines (consisting of two pipelines each) transporting gas from Russia to Germany. They cross the territorial sea of three States (Russia, Denmark and Germany) and the exclusive economic zone (‘EEZ’) of five States (Russia,…

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Occupation of Minds: IHL Response to Russian Education Policies in the Occupied Ukrainian Territories

Into the eighth month of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia has rushed to implement its plan to annex and assimilate newly occupied southern-eastern regions of Ukraine via sham referenda and attempted absorption of territories through respective domestic laws. The areas in question include parts of the Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and…

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Remedial Peoplehood: Russia’s New Theory on Self-Determination in International Law and its Ramifications beyond Ukraine

The evolution of samoopredelenie or self-determination dates back to the early 20th century when these terms were used by the Russian Bolsheviks and the West respectively to advance ideological and political objectives. Now once again the concept of self-determination and its subject, i.e., people, have been variously invoked to justify support for the people of Ukraine writ large,…

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Of Parties, Third Parties, and Treaty Interpretation: Ukraine v. Russia (X) before the European Court of Human Rights

States are currently (re-)discovering their legal possibilities to express solidarity with Ukraine in its ‘lawfare’ against Russia. Following a joint statement of 41 States and the EU calling ‘upon the international community to explore all options to support Ukraine in its proceedings before the ICJ’, a large number of…

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