This article will answer a few questions regarding a major current event.
What are the international laws?
A law is a rule of conduct or action formally organized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority. An international law refers to laws made between sovereign nations, where a ‘sovereign’ is defined as a supreme power of authority (i.e. country). After WWII the United Nations was created through the UN Charter. It was signed in San Francisco, USA on June 26, 1945. This charter has 19 Chapters with 103 articles in total, and all members (193 countries) are to abide by it.
What international laws have been broken by Russia?
Let’s first start with some historical facts which led to the current events.
- Basically, Vladimir Putin HATES Ukraine.
- In 2008, Vladimir Putin allegedly declared, at the NATO-Russia summit, that if Ukraine were to join NATO, his country could contend to annex the Ukrainian East and Crimea.
- In 2008, during the Russo-Georgian war, relations between Ukraine and Russia soured, due to Ukraine’s support and selling of arms to Georgia
- In 2009, there was a gas conflict between Ukraine and Russia. This led the Russian media to portray Ukraine as an aggressive and greedy state that wanted to ally with Russia’s enemies and exploit cheap Russian.
- On August 14, 2013 the Russian Custom Service stopped all goods coming from Ukraine.
- Beginning on February 26, 2014 pro-Russian forces began to gradually take control of the Crimean peninsula. Many of them were widely believed to be Russian military personnel without insignia.
- On March 17, 2014 the Crimean Parliament declared independence from Ukraine and asked to join the Russian Federation.
- On March 18, 2014 Russia and Crimea signed a treaty of accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol into the Russian Federation.
- On March 27, 2014 the UN General Assembly passed a non-binding Resolution 68/262 that declared the Crimean referendum invalid and the incorporation of Crimea into Russia illegal.
- On April 15, 2014 the Ukrainian parliament declared Crimea as a territory temporarily occupied by Russia and passed a law which imposes travel restrictions on visiting Crimea, requiring tourists to obtain special permits for entering the peninsula.
International laws were ‘officially’ broken by Russia on March 27th, 2014.
What are the consequences of breaking the international laws?
Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter allows the UN Security to determine the threat of a “breach of peace, or act of aggression” and to take military and nonmilitary action to restore international peace and security.
Nonmilitary actions are economic sanctions. (Which is what the UN is doing right now)
If this doesn’t work, Article 42 states: “Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.”
The Security Council is a branch of the UN and has 15 members. 5 permanent & 10 non-permanent. They will decide the next sets for what will happen with this conflict.
Have countries ever broken international laws?
Yes… A LOT.
As you can see, the USA or Germany alone can’t do much when it comes to international laws being broken, because they’re only 2 of the 15 voting members of the UN Security Council. The UN will decide the necessary steps to protect international peace and security.