Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Cleavages in international law and the danger of a pull towards non-compliance

International law faces difficult times, with cleavages running deep between what is often labelled “the West” on the one hand, and Russia on the other hand. With the annexation of Crimea Russia has engaged in a form of conflict that was considered passé in Europe. It is accordingly seen as being responsible for the polarization of international relations by many Western States. Moscow tells a different story of the deterioration …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Who Holds Russia’s Judges and Public Prosecutors to Account?

How the International Community Fails to Effectively Address Judicial Harassment of Human Rights Defenders in the Russian Federation

This piece is about the growing number of politically-motivated charges and convictions against human rights defenders in Russia and the absence of credible monitoring or audit procedures to hold judges and public prosecutors to account for their misconduct. Despite political backlashes to judicial independence in countries such as Hungary and Poland, Europe is generally perceived as a powerhouse for a strong and working justice system in which courts protect human …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Is Russia the Guardian of Humanitarian Intervention?

In the UN Security Council, the Russian Federation has repeatedly put forward in no uncertain terms its stance regarding humanitarian intervention and its concern that this fairly recent concept may be misused to press Western influence and regime change. Thus, Russia used its veto powers four times to block resolutions on Syria that Russia perceives to be damaging its ally, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Russia’s argument on fearing regime change rests …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum

Fostering the Voice of Civil Society in the International Legal Debate

When speaking of the role of Russia in the contemporary international legal debate, it is helpful not only to focus on particular topics and questions, but – as with all other debates – to start with the question, at what levels and in which formats such a legal debate takes place; which actors are actively engaged in it or can actively participate in it, and what impact it has. To …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Das EU-Russland Zivilgesellschaftsforum

Die Stimme der Zivilgesellschaft in der internationalen Rechtsdebatte stärken

Spricht man über die Rolle Russlands in der zeitgenössischen internationalen Rechtsdebatte, so ist es hilfreich, sich nicht nur auf die konkreten Themen und Fragen zu fokussieren, sondern – wie bei allen anderen Debatten auch – sich zunächst zu fragen, auf welchen Ebenen und in welchen Formaten diese Rechtsdebatte stattfindet, welche Akteure daran aktiv teilnehmen bzw. teilnehmen können, und mit welcher Auswirkung. Die Kommunikationswissenschaftler verwenden dafür die Lasswell-Formel: “Who says what …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Russia, international law, and the melting of the Arctic

The melting ice in the polar caps is one of humanity’s contemporary ecological anxieties. Climate change scientists have suggested that there is a high likelihood that the Arctic sea ice cover will get thinner and continue to shrink. Likewise, the Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover is expected to decrease during the 21st century as global mean surface temperature rises. Are the current international legal mechanisms sufficiently equipped to respond to …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

‘Peaceful’ and ‘Remedial’ Annexations of Crimea

This post analyzes the ‘two annexations’ of Crimea in the Russian narrative of ‘reclaiming its historical rights’ over the peninsula in 2014. As many aspects surrounding the occupation of Crimea have been extensively debated in scholarly writings, I will limit my focus on two key concepts that Russia has advanced: Ukraine’s ‘peaceful annexation’ of Crimea in 1991; and Russia’s ‘remedial annexation’ of Crimea in 2014. My main aim is to …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Ukraine v. Russia: Passage through Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov

Part III: The Jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal

In our first and second post, we have considered the status of the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait and, on that basis, identified passage rights of Ukraine that could potentially feature in the proceedings before the arbitral tribunal established under Annex VII of UNCLOS. In our present and last post, we inquire if (or to what extent) these potential Ukrainian claims could fall within the jurisdiction of the arbitral …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Ukraine v. Russia: Passage through Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov

Part II: Ukraine’s Rights of Passage through Kerch Strait

In our previous post, we have taken a look at the legal status of the Sea of Azov and concluded that there are two possible Scenarios involving either a shared bay regime of internal waters or a “standard” situation in which the Sea of Azov is divided into the territorial seas of Russia and Ukraine in addition to a high seas pocket in the centre (see Picture 3). Based on …

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Russian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Ukraine v. Russia: Passage through Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov

Part I: The Legal Status of Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov

On 16 September 2016, Ukraine instituted arbitral proceedings against Russia under Part XV and Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the Dispute Concerning Coastal State Rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait (Ukraine v. the Russian Federation). The case relates to Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014, which fundamentally disrupted the maritime order in the Black …

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