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The International Law of Protected Spaces and the Collapse of the Humanitarian Corridors in Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine deepens, the UN Refugee Agency has warned that Europe sits on the precipice of its ‘largest refugee crisis this century’. Over a million people have already fled the Russian invasion within the first seven days of conflict alone, and numbers are expected to rise exponentially. Simultaneously, while the refugee crisis grows in the West, more than 12 million people remain under siege within Ukraine, including many still trying to leave. Subsequently, calls to create ‘humanitarian corridors’ have been a major point of discussion during recent peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv, and although a cessation of hostilities has not been procured, negotiators have at least tentatively agreed to the creation of humanitarian corridors to facilitate the mass exodus of civilians from conflict zones. Although details about the operation of these corridors have been scarce, Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak and Russia’s main negotiator, former culture minister Vladimir Medinsky, have specifically indicated that temporary ceasefires would be implemented ‘in places where humanitarian corridors [are] being…

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Russia’s Submission to the ICJ in the Genocide Case; Russia’s Withdrawal from the Council of Europe

A quick update on two important developments. First, the ICJ has put up on its website a submission it received from the Russian Federation in the Ukraine v. Russia genocide case, in which the Court’s provisional measures decision is pending. Because Russia has declined to participate in the proceedings – at least for now –…

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Preventing Genocide and the Ukraine/Russia case

Ukraine’s recent application against Russia at the International Court of Justice raises the question of the permissibility of the use of force outside the exceptions in the Charter of the United Nations for the purpose of preventing genocide. When the application is read together with the statements made by Ukraine’s…

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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…

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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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