Russia is Breaking Basic International Laws
We do not doubt that Russia’s actions against Ukraine have for years been lawless in the light of the principles of international law and an offense against the natural rights of nations and states to live in peace and self-determination. In this specific situation, Russia also violates the fundamental natural rights of human society — the principle of pacta sunt servanda.
We call international lawlessness any action that violates the natural principles of international law —arising from the natural law of nations (ius gentium), from international custom, or accepted obligations of treaty guarantees. Such guarantees were the so-called Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in which the USA, Great Britain, and Russia guaranteed the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
The assessment of Russian aggression against Ukraine is entirely unambiguous. I expressed it in a mini legal column, which has already been reprinted in pch24 (https://pch24.pl/mec-kwasniewski-rosyjska-agresja-to-zlamanie-norm-bezwzglednie-obowiazujacych-prawa-miedzynarodowego/ ).
The lack of an adequate response from the Western world, which is obliged to defend Ukraine against aggression, will also constitute an illegal act. This is due not only to the violation of the provisions of the Budapest Memorandum but also to other principles of international law. The act of Russian aggression violates the norm of mandatory international law (the prohibition of aggressive warfare), which obliges the entire international community to act in defense of Ukraine).
At the same time, we are fully aware that international law is sometimes treated as a political instrument, especially in the era of post-Marxist politics. Critical theory in international law is triumphant today and serves to justify the most far-reaching offenses against fundamental principles. Strength becomes law, and obligations bind only the weaker. We see this process both on a global scale (instrumental perception of international obligations by the PRC) and on a regional scale (approach to the rule of law in the EU).
Jerzy Kwaśniewski, attorney, President of the Management Board
Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture