ILA Statement on the Ongoing and Evolving Aggression In and Against Ukraine, 3 March 2022

As an Association committed to the international rule of law the International Law Association (ILA)
deplores the flagrant violation of international law by Russia in its military action in and against Ukraine, a sovereign state and member of the United Nations.

Further to the statement issued by the Executive Chair of the ILA on 25th February 2022, the Association affirms its commitment to the rules of international law relating to the use of force including the legal obligation upon all states to comply with the principles set out in the United Nations Charter, especially article 2 (4) relating to the prohibition of the use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of any state without a mandate from the Security Council, or in lawful self-defence.

The actions of the Russian Federation manifestly do not come within the exceptions to the prohibition of the use of force and as such are in breach of these peremptory norms of international law from which no derogation is permissible. Nor can political arguments detract from legal obligation.

Apart from being responsible for an internationally wrongful act – the unlawful use of force – the Russian Federation must also comply with its obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Failure to do so may constitute international crimes for which there is individual criminal responsibility as well as state responsibility under the Geneva Conventions, the laws and customs of war and human rights treaties. The Association welcomes the decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate the possible commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It is evident that compliance with the law will not of itself safeguard international peace and security. Without it, however, not only is the stability of the international order threatened but so too are the lives and security of millions of civilians. The ILA joins with others for calling for an end to the use of force in Ukraine, for a peaceful settlement with meaningful participation by civil society, and for immediate humanitarian and other assistance to those displaced, injured and otherwise harmed, as well as long term justice.

International Law Association (ILA)
3 March 2022