The School of Law held a discussion day on Tuesday on Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine for people to learn more about the legal context of the war.
Open to all, the online session considered the timeline of events from Putin's speech on 24 February to the emerging situation on refugees.
The issue of the use of force and whether Russia was justified in carrying out an attack under Article 51 was discussed by Dr Gary Wilson, who described it as a clear breach of Article 2(4) of the UN charter and the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances 1994 by Russia.
The issue of self-determination was discussed by Professor Gaetano Pentassuglia who explained that Putin was justifying his attack on the basis that he was protecting the People of the Donetsk and Luhansk from persecution by Kiev and that their ‘rights’ of self determination were such that their co-existence on Ukrainian territory had become untenable.
Limitations of violence
Dr Sofia Cavandoli went on to discuss the global response to the crisis; from the official condemnations to sanctions and the ‘embargo’ on Russian activity in culture, sport and travel.
Ukraine’s filing of complaint against Russia at the ICJ under Article iX of the Genocide Convention was discussed along with the upholding of international humanitarian law by both parties.
In relation to the Geneva Conventions and other rules governing the limits on the use of violence, it was pointed out that an unprecedented 39 member states had petitioned the International Criminal Court to open an investigation.
A further session will take place in the next few weeks.