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We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine.

Article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations 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-defense under Article 51 of the Charter if an armed attack occurs, or authorization by the United Nations Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter.  Neither of these exceptions applies to the current situation. In particular, the Russian Federation has no right of individual self-defense against Ukraine.

The right to self-determination is no legal basis for the creation of the Ukrainian territories Donetsk and Luhansk as “states”. Therefore, their recognition by the Russian Federation is a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and as such without legal effect. Since these territories are not states, the Russian Federation cannot invoke collective self-defense on behalf of these territories in order to justify its attack on Ukraine. In the same vein, the Russian Federation cannot rely on the alleged “consent” of these entities to justify any intervention in the territory of Ukraine for any purpose.

As there is no legal justification for its resort to force against Ukraine, the Russian Federation is committing a clear violation of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter and an act of aggression.

Moreover, 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 U.N. Member States to fulfill their obligations in relation to the Russian Federation’s violation of the prohibition on aggression, which is a peremptory norm of international law (jus cogens). It endures regardless of violations. Accordingly, states must cooperate to bring this aggression to an end through lawful means; they must not recognize as lawful any situation it creates; nor may they render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation.

Last, we remind third-party states, including the Republic of Belarus, that the action of a state in allowing its territory, which it has placed at the disposal of another state, to be used by that other state for perpetrating an act of aggression, might be an act of aggression in and of itself.

Dr Anan Alsheikh Haidar
Professor Tatsuya Abe
Dr Constantine Antonopoulos
Professor Masahiko Asada
Dr Danae Azaria
Professor Guimei Bai
Professor Jack M. Beard
Dr Markus P. Beham
Dr Gleb Bogush
Professor Antonio Bultrini
Philippe Blaquier Cirelli
Professor Dr Erika de Wet
Professor Amos O. Enabulele
Dr Gloria Fernández Arribas
Dr Luca Ferro
Professor T.D. 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 Österdahl
Dr Federica Paddeu
Professor Anne Peters
Dr Erin Pobjie
Dr Chiara Redaelli
Professor Brad Roth
Professor Dr Tom Ruys
Svit Senković
Dr Michael Smith
Professor Christian J. Tams
Professor Jennifer Trahan
Professor Jure Vidmar
Dr Sharon Weill
Dr Hannah Woolaver

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