Jerzy Kranz

Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Sovereign Democracy: Some Remarks on the Annexation of Crimea by Russia

Rubrik: Abhandlungen
Archiv des Völkerrechts (AVR)

Jahrgang 52 () / Heft 2, S. 205-221 (17)

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The problem of modern-day Russia lies in its failure to reckon with its own history and in its continued imperialist tradition. Russia is deliberately testing the political integrity of the West. International law and the values it protects are being seriously challenged. The principle of self-determination of peoples has to be viewed as an instrument of justice and stability. There is no right to secession or prohibition of secession in international law. SC resolution 1244 (1999) does not prohibit secession and does not replace the will of the people of Kosovo as to self-determination. The secession of Kosovo cannot be the precedent for Crimea. Russian interpretation of the ICJ advisory opinion of 2010 is clearly inconsistent. Consideration of the Crimean case in the context of self-determination is a guise of Russian aggression leading to annexation of Crimea. Russian military action satisfies the criteria enumerated by the definition of aggression (UN GA Resolution 3314, Article 8 bis of the ICC Statute). The reliance on self-defence in the context of protecting Russian citizens in Ukraine is in any case unjustified. The recently-developed doctrine of responsibility to protect (R2P) cannot be applied either. The consequence of keeping peace at any price may appear to be war. The policy of appeasement is an illusion of the guarantee of peace. Between the use of military force and diplomatic negotiations there is ample space for other instruments. Russia may be stopped by political and economic measures – it is the question of political will to act.

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