Ukraine — EU imposes serious sanctions on Russia: Council Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 of 31 July 2014 —- with link to full text


Finally, five months after the invasion of the Crimea, the European Union has adopted serious sanctions against Russia.


“Council Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 of 31 July 2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine,”
OJ L 229, 31.7.2014, p. 1–11 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV), reproduced in EUR-Lex (text) and found here.

The sanctions currently allow existing contracts for military equipment and arms to be executed, including the delivery to Russia by France of two Mistral-class attack warships. One is to be named “The Sevastopol”. Both are initially planned to be based in the Far East, but could eventually be based in Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula, which is Ukrainian territory now illegally occupied by Russian military forces.

This military occupation is the result of an invasion by Russian forces in violation of Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter, which prohibits “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”.

Article 2 paragraph 4 is a norm of peremptory international law (jus cogens) from which no derogation, even by agreement, is permitted.

That means that if France were to finally see the light and cancel the contracts with the Russian Federation, a state which is currently invading another European country, any arbitration panel would be highly unlikely to uphold the penalty clauses in the contracts for the Mistral-class warships.

It strains credulity to think that any arbitral tribunal would ever uphold penalty clauses for failure to deliver warships to a country which had invaded, purported to annex, and currently occupied the territory of another state, and particularly when the warships could eventually be stationed in the conquered territory of the invaded state.

Delivering warships to Russia, under these circumstances, would be tantamount to aiding and abetting an aggressor state in its continuing illegal occupation of the conquered territory of the Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.