Association law

Statement by Members of the Committee on the Use of Force of the International Law Association

All translations of this statement (including Albanian, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesian, Bahasa Malaysian, Burmese, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, Farsi, Finnish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Tigrinya (Eritrea), Turkish, Ukrainian) are available here.

We condemn in the strongest terms the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter prohibits “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations “. There are only two exceptions expressly included in the Charter: individual or collective self-defence under Article 51 of the Charter in the event of an armed attack, or the authorization of the United Nations Security Council acting in under Chapter VII of the Charter. None of these exceptions apply to the current situation. In particular, the Russian Federation has no right of individual self-defence against Ukraine.

The right to self-determination is not a legal basis for the creation of the Ukrainian territories of Donetsk and Lugansk as “states”. Therefore, their recognition by the Russian Federation is a flagrant violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and, as such, without legal effect. Since these territories are not States, the Russian Federation cannot invoke collective self-defence on behalf of these territories to justify its attack on Ukraine. In the same vein, the Russian Federation cannot invoke the so-called “consent” of these entities to justify any intervention on Ukrainian territory for any purpose whatsoever.

As there is no legal justification for its use of force against Ukraine, the Russian Federation commits a clear violation of Article 2, paragraph 4, of the United Nations Charter and an act of aggression.

In addition, this act of aggression may involve the commission of crimes of aggression by persons effectively controlling or directing the political or military actions of the Russian Federation.

We call on all UN member states to fulfill their obligations regarding the violation by the Russian Federation of the prohibition of aggression, which is a peremptory norm of international law (jus cogens). It endures regardless of violations. Accordingly, States must cooperate to end this aggression by legal means; they must not recognize as lawful any situation it creates; nor can they render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation.

Finally, we remind third States, including the Republic of Belarus, that the action of a State consisting in allowing its territory, which it has made available to another State, to be used by this other State for to perpetrate an act of aggression, could be an act of aggression in itself.

Dr Anan Alsheikh Haidar
Professor Tatsuya Abe
Doctor Constantin Antonopoulos
Professor Masahiko Asada
Doctor Danae Azaria
Professor Guimei Bai
Professor Jack M. Beard
Dr. Markus P. Beham
Doctor Gleb Bogush
Professor Antonio Bultrini
Philippe Blaquier Cirelli
Professor Dr. Erika de Wet
Professor Amos O. Enabulele
Dr. Gloria Fernandez Arribas
Doctor Luc Ferro
Professor TD Gill
Professor James A. Green
Professor Patrycja Grzebyk
Professor Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg
Professor Christian Henderson
Professor Michał Kowalski
Professor Jang-Hie Lee
Dr Marja Lehto
Dr Eliav Lieblich
PD Dr. Christian Marxsen
Dr. Carrie McDougall
Professor Tadashi Mori
Professor Claus Kreß
Professor Koichi Morikawa
Dr. Robert Muharremi
Professor Mary Ellen O’Connell
Professor Inger Osterdahl
Dr. Federica Paddeu
Professor Anne Peters
Dr Erin Pobjie
Doctor Chiara Redaelli
Professor Brad Roth
Professor Dr. Tom Ruys
Svit Senkovic
Dr. Michael Smith
Professor Christian J. Tams
Professor Jennifer Trahan
Professor Jure Vidmar
Dr. Sharon Weil
Dr. Hannah Woolaver

* This statement is made by the members of the Committee acting in their personal capacity and represents the views of its signatories only.