On September 29, 2022, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, signed decrees “on recognition of independence and state sovereignty of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts of Ukraine”, and the following day – agreements on their illegal annexation, as well as “inclusion” of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. This decision was preceded by quasi-referendums in the temporarily occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, which completely repeats the scenario of 2014 when the Crimean Peninsula was annexed. The so-called “independence” of quasi-formations in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts was recognized by the Russian Federation on February 21, 2022, on the eve of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
On October 2, 2022, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation confirmed the constitutionality of the annexation of the specified four regions of Ukraine, and on October 3, the annexation treaties were ratified by the State Duma of the Russian Federation.
The Ukrainian Bar Association once again emphasizes that territorial integrity, sovereign equality of states, the right to self-determination of peoples, respect and protection of human rights are fundamental principles of international law, which prohibits and condemns aggression. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine were recognized by all countries of the world and are guaranteed by a number of international treaties.
It is obvious to the whole world that the above-mentioned decisions of the President of the Russian Federation, the State Duma, the Federation Council, and the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation are another gross violation of the norms of international law and constitute escalation of aggression against Ukraine. Any “referendums” held under the military control of the Russian Federation under the conditions of occupation cannot be considered a right to self-determination and are legally null and void.
The world must react to the ongoing criminal actions of the Russian Federation IMMEDIATELY.
Another decision of the Russian Federation regarding the annexation of Ukrainian territories, combined with the nuclear threats of the Russian Federation, should strengthen the unity and cohesion of international partners and the unshakable determination of the civilized world to provide the necessary support to Ukraine and stop the illegal aggression of the Russian Federation.
Given the above, the Association appeals to the international community with the demand to take quick and decisive actions to finally end the war. In particular, we urge:
- The governments of the countries of the world – to significantly expand the list of individuals and legal entities under sanctions, and immediately introduce full oil and gas embargo.
- The governments of the United States of America and European countries – to urgently increase the volumes of weapon supplies requested by the authorized government bodies.
- The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court – to speed up the investigation of the crimes of the Russian Federation and urgently appeal to the judges of the International Criminal Court with a request to issue an arrest warrant for President Putin and other persons from the top political and military leadership of the Russian Federation.
- The UN General Assembly – to coordinate the governments of the UN member states regarding the establishment of the Special Tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine. In addition, to start the procedure of exclusion of the Russian Federation from the UN Security Council or at least limiting its veto right regarding the situation in Ukraine, as a party to an international armed conflict.
- Countries with universal jurisdiction – to continue initiating and conducting investigations and court proceedings of war crimes and crimes against humanity of the Russian Federation in Ukraine.
- International and foreign legal associations – to publicly condemn the annexation and call on the governments of the countries worldwide to take decisive actions.
The full text of the appeal is available by the link.