Aggression against Ukraine: Territory, Responsibility, and by Thomas D. Grant (auth.)

By Thomas D. Grant (auth.)

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The formal act of annexation had not yet taken place. ”19 The failure of the referendum in Crimea to accord with Ukrainian law was clear. The competent Ukrainian public organs determined it to be unlawful, and regional organizations agreed. A new State, however, can emerge within an existing State in ways that violate municipal law. Situations in which States have emerged through unilateral acts against the opposition of the existing State almost necessarily entail lawbreaking. In some instances, such situations involve total disruption of the legal order of the State.

There, too, the once all-powerful sovereign may be held to account—and even made to pay financial compensation. There is also a less benign undergrowth in the non-State realm—the violent individual or group acting across international 4 M Aggression against Ukraine boundaries and at times going so far as to challenge the cohesion of States. There is a great deal to be said, and to be done, about participants in international relations that are not States. There are limits, however, to a theory that posits the eclipse of territorial power.

This (non-State) branch of the international family tree is the main focus of whole disciplines and domains of policy and practice. Scholars observe that the largest business organizations now are more powerful than States and operate without regard to boundaries. In a compelling sense this is a fact of modern international relations. The earnings of the largest companies are greater than the GDP of some countries; and the largest companies operate almost everywhere. Then there are the rights and procedures that protect the individual against the State at the international level.

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