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A Hot Potato: The ICJ’s Order on the Admissibility of 32 Declarations of Intervention in Ukraine v. Russia

On Friday 9 June 2023, the ICJ uploaded to its website a hotly anticipated order regarding the admissibility of the mass Article 63 interventions in the Ukraine v. Russia Genocide Convention case. This came at the end of a week of dramatic oral hearings in the other ongoing case between the two States regarding Russia’s alleged financing of separatist groups in eastern Ukraine and discriminatory policies in Crimea. In this post, we address some of the key issues arising from the Order. Summary of the Order In brief, all 32 interventions from 33 States were admitted based on Article 63 of the ICJ Statute, bar one – the United States (more on that soon). Russia opposed the interventions on seven, somewhat overlapping, grounds. It also made specific objections to the joint declaration of Canada and the Netherlands, and the declaration of the United States. Reminiscent of arguments…

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Enforcing Sanctions Violations to Fund the Reconstruction of Ukraine

Introduction As the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine continues into its second year, Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery is estimated by the World Bank to cost, at a minimum, $411 billion. With no realistic prospect of a negotiated settlement to the conflict in sight, Ukraine and its international partners are rightfully seeking pathways to fund…

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The Destruction of the Nova Kakhovka Dam and International Humanitarian Law: Some Preliminary Thoughts

This morning the Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine was destroyed, in circumstances which remain unclear. Thousands of people are in peril, while the devastation of downstream communities and the environment will be immense. The dam appears to have collapsed, and the reservoir behind it is now draining at speed. In this post I will just briefly set…

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Ukraine’s Involvement in Cross-Border Raids by Russian Paramilitary Groups: Illegal Use of Force and Intervention or Lawful Self-Defence?

On 22 May 2023, two Russian paramilitary groups – the Liberty of Russia Legion (LSR) and the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) – conducted a cross-border raid from Ukrainian territory into the Belgorod region of Russia. After briefly ‘liberating’ some border villages, the fighters were forced to retreat on to Ukrainian territory again. This was not the first such…

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The Moscow Mechanism Expert Report on the Forcible Transfer and Deportation of Ukrainian Children

Before Spring 2022, only the real connoisseurs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were familiar with the so-called Moscow Mechanism enabling any OSCE participating State to request the establishment of an ad hoc expert mission to investigate specific questions related to the OSCE human dimension. In the first thirty years of…

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