Ukraine

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On Eastern Europe, ‘Whataboutism’ and ‘West(s)plaining’: Some Thoughts on International Lawyers’ Responses to Ukraine

The invasion of Ukraine has spawned a flurry of commentary from international lawyers. Much of it has focused on traditional doctrinal disputes, such as the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction in Ukraine or interpretation of international humanitarian law. But there have also been voices that situate the Ukraine war and international legal responses thereto in a wider context, including by criticising the role of human rights in inciting the war, the West’s neglect of Global South crises, or international law’s Euro-centrism. While these critiques are well-intentioned, I want to offer some critical thoughts on these critical (and nominally progressive) responses – a critique of the critique, if you will. I argue that these calls for introspection on the part of some Western and Global South international lawyers inadvertently reproduce a Western-centric vision of the world, and international law’s role therein, while effacing the voices of Ukrainians who, in this case, are the paradigmatic case of a subaltern people responding to imperialist aggression, including through the emancipatory language of international law. By discounting this reality, some critiques may…

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Three Options for the Veto Power After the War in Ukraine

If any good can come out of the war in Ukraine, it should be a resumption of the decade-long process in the United Nations aiming at reining in or even removing the veto power of the permanent members of the Security Council. President Zelensky’s recent call for reforming the veto system may help to create the necessary…

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Russia and the UN Human Rights Council: A Step in the Right Direction

The United Nations General Assembly has voted to suspend Russia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council. This is only the second time in the Council’s 16 year history that a member has been suspended under GA resolution 60/251 paragraph 8 for committing ‘gross and systematic violations of human…

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Update on ECtHR Interim Measures Concerning Russia and Ukraine

This afternoon the European Court interpreted and reinforced the Rule 39 interim measures it had previously issued against Russia regarding the war in Ukraine, in response to additional requests made by Ukraine. Here’s the press release, with the title ‘Expansion of interim measures in relation to Russian military action in Ukraine,’ which bears…

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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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