Putin-Zelensky deal on Crimea and recognizing fruits of aggression in Donbas would be void under international law

The Articles 52 and 53 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties provides that treaties whose adoption has been procured by the threat or use of force are void.

Article 52: Coercion of a State by the threat or use of force

A treaty is void if its conclusion has been procured by the threat or use of force in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations.

Article 53: Treaties conflicting with a peremptory norm of general international law (jus cogens)

A treaty is void if, at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts with a peremptory norm of general international law.  For the purposes of the present Convention, a peremptory norm of general international law is a norm accepted and recognized by the international community of states as a whole as a norm from which no derogation is permitted and which can be modified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character.

The prohibition against the international use of force embodied in Article 2 paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter is a universally recognized rule of jus cogens in general international law .

Article 2 paragraph 4

United Nations Charter, Article 2

The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

(4) All Members shall refrain in their international relations from 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.

Donald Trump has suggested to Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, that he get together with Vladimir Putin to work out the differences between the two countries.

President Trump: And I really hope that Russia — because I really believe that President Putin would like to do something. I really hope that you and President Putin get together and can solve your problem. That would be a tremendous achievement. And I know you’re trying to do that.\–President Donald J. Trump, Remarks before bi-lateral meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, New York, September 25, 2019.

Any treaty concluded between Zelensky and Putin, so long as Russian forces occupy the Crimea, and continue their aggression in the Eastern Ukraine (Donbas) provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, would be completely void in view of Articles 52 and 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and the jus cogens principle of general international law embodied in Article 2 paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter.

See also:

“Russia’s utter and continuing violation of international law in the Ukraine: U.N. General Assembly Resolution A/RES/25/2625 (1970) on Principles of International Law and Friendly Relations Among States,”The Trenchant Observer, February 8, 2015.

“The Great Buffoon’s lack of support of Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter,” The Trenchant Observer, August 27, 2019.

“Reports that Merkel is negotiating a settlement with Putin that would recognize Russian annexation of the Crimea, in violation of peremptory norms of international law,” The Trenchant Observer, August 6, 2014.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

The Observer
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by The Observer, an 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. He is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR), 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, The Observer 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. The Observer 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.), 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, The Observer 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 the best articles that have appeared in the blog.

Be the first to comment on "Putin-Zelensky deal on Crimea and recognizing fruits of aggression in Donbas would be void under international law"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*