By Thomas D. Grant (auth.)
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Extra info for Aggression against Ukraine: Territory, Responsibility, and International Law
Addressing that claim entails addressing the two most significant episodes of use of force between the end of the Cold War and 2014—the interventions in Kosovo (1999) and Iraq (2003). As for the present chapter, the established rules, municipal and international, are the starting point. Acts in Two Municipal Legal Orders For a territory to be separated from one State and to join another entails, at a minimum, acts in two municipal legal orders. A referendum taking place in Crimea while that territory was still part of Ukraine purportedly separated Crimea from Ukraine; and then a treaty between an independent Crimea and Russia supposedly incorporated the former into the territory of the latter.
Those addressing the situation, even while examining its particulars, adopt an air of resignation over the whole. That the State which carries out a serious breach of international law would adduce special considerations in its defense is to be expected. It comes as no surprise that there are apologists for annexation. The surprise is that the response to date in the mainstream of the field would be resigned in the face of an act so at odds with the modern law. Resignation here is accompanied by a particular view of events, which, put succinctly, is this: Ukraine now reaps what other States have sown.
23 The Review Conference marked a shift in approach whereby the States Parties agreed to incorporate into the Statute the elements of the crime of aggression as indicated in GAR 3314 (XXIX)—that is, a broad rather than a compromise approach. Across the years of debate, however, nobody doubted that forcible annexation constitutes an obvious example of the crime. 24 A question may still exist whether a lawful act or threat of force may result in a lawful change of boundary without the consent of the other State involved.