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Ahead of the game? Sporting sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine

“I am always amazed when I hear people saying that sport creates goodwill between the nations, and that if only the common peoples of the world could meet one another at football or cricket, they would have no inclination to meet on the battlefield” George Orwell, The Sporting Spirit (1945) Almost immediately after the invasion of Ukraine took place, in a truly unusual reaction, a growing number of sports associations have in recent days taken measures which are aimed not only at preventing the organisation of international sports competitions in Russian or Belarusian territories but also affect the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in sporting competitions held worldwide. The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Recommendation, adopted on 28 February, kicked off and, in a way, resolved a dilemma that many of these associations were facing. Indeed, when its Executive Committee recommended the non-participation of these athletes or teams in international competitions, a cascade of decisions followed from FIFA, ITF, FIBA, ISU, and World Athletics, among  others. As for…

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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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Ukranian ‘IT Army’: A Cyber Levée en Masse or Civilians Directly Participating in Hostilities?

In the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Digital Transformation Mykhaylo Fedorov announced in a tweet the creation of an ‘IT Army’. According to reports, as many as 400, 000 people from across the world have joined. A list of targets has been published and…

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Mercenary or Combatant? Ukraine’s International Legion of Territorial Defense under International Humanitarian Law

On the fourth day after Russia’s February 24 armed attack and invasion of Ukraine, President Zelensky made a call for foreigners wishing to defend Ukraine to join the International Legion of Territorial Defense (ILTG), inviting individuals to contact foreign diplomatic missions of Ukraine in their respective countries (you could sign up here). Hundreds of American,…

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The Legal Death of Free Speech in Russia

‘[W]hat made me particularly happy was to see that the Committee’s decision [to award him the Nobel Peace Prize] stressed the link between defense of peace and defense of human rights, emphasising that the defense of human rights guarantees a solid ground for genuine long-term international cooperation. … Granting the award to a person who defends political…

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