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Unpublished Paper
Impaled on Morton's Fork: Kosovo, Crimea, and the Sui Generis Circumstance
ExpressO (2015)
  • christopher robert rossi

Abstract: This Article investigates the problematic invocation of unique circumstances as a justification for circumventing the international law relating to use of force and state secession. Borrowing from the teachings of critical sociology, this Article addresses the lessons of NATO’s 1999 intervention in Kosovo and Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia; it adapts those teachings to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Doctrinal, state-sponsored, and international juridical attempts to conform the Kosovo events to the international rule of law mask internal and unreconciled tensions within the Charter system. These tensions, which threaten to further weaken the system and expose it to dangerous manipulations, have upset international law’s delicate balance between respect for territorial integrity and the right of self-determination. These weaknesses also help to explain why two of the most significant doctrinal developments to emerge from the mist of Kosovo – the Responsibility to Protect and remedial secession – have retreated from earlier and enthusiastic assessments of their prospects in international law. Embedded in the recourse to the sui generis claim is the cautionary belief that its invocation may as likely mask extra-legal intentions as support international law’s progressive development.

  • sui generis,
  • remedial secession,
  • responsibility to protect,
  • kosovo,
  • crimea
Publication Date
June 1, 2015
Citation Information
christopher robert rossi. "Impaled on Morton's Fork: Kosovo, Crimea, and the Sui Generis Circumstance" ExpressO (2015)
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