Ukraine’s complex transition
Edited By Klaus Bachmann and Igor Lyubashenko
International Law Aspects of the Situation in Ukraine
The recent events in and around Ukraine can be analysed in the perspective of international law. This chapter is aimed at identifying crucial legal contexts, applicable rules and instruments, and, if they exist, international bodies and courts to which parties of the dispute may submit their grievances. Shortcomings of the relevant international law mechanisms are also demonstrated.
The legal construct of aggression
Today’s legal understanding of aggression dates back to several sources: The Kellogg-Briand Pact, the charters of the post-war International Military Tribunals (popularly known as Nuremberg and Tokyo ones) and the Charter of the United Nations. The Kellogg-Briand Pact (its full title is “General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy”), signed in Paris on 27 August 1928,1 declared that the contracting parties condemned a recourse to war for the solution of international controversies of whatever nature or origin and renounce war as an instrument of national policy (Article I). All disputes and conflicts were to be solved only by peaceful means (Article II).
Article VI (a) of the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal determined that the leaders of the Third Reich are subject to criminal responsibility for crimes against peace (this is a broader concept than a crime of aggression), defined as the planning, preparation, initiation and waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances.2 The UN Charter obliges member states to settle their international disputes...
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