5

Russia has accused "the West" of double standards with respect to secession/self-determination e.g. in 2018 Lavrov said:

"Despite numerous resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly on this issue, France continues to illegitimately hold Mayotte," Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow alongside Comoros Foreign Minister Souef Mohamed El Amine.

"Countries which organised the separation of Kosovo from Serbia, Mayotte from the Comoros, and have tried several times to change regimes in countries where they considered it necessary, show blatant double standards," said Lavrov, alluding to Western countries.

I'm sure [given the year] Crimea was also on the back of Lavrov's mind, although it's not mentioned in that piece. And in fact, he said it previously, in that regard:

In April 2014 Lavrov published an article on the website of The Guardian stating that “Attempts by those who staged the secession of Kosovo from Serbia and of Mayotte from the Comoros to question the free will of Crimeans cannot be viewed as anything but a flagrant display of double standards.”

(from the book Russian doctrine of international law after the annexation of Crimea, p. 76)

If we take the UNGA resolutions as indicative--as Lavrov did in 2018--(although they're not determinative in international law), are Kosovo or Crimea good examples of such "double standards" in that regard, i.e. are there UNGA resolutions that explicitly favor the Russian viewpoint on those two (Kosovo and Crimea), but not the opposite? I.e.:

  • is Kosovo still part of Serbia, according to UNGA?

  • is Crimea part of Russia, according to UNGA?

As I suspect there may be more than one resolution on some of these, it would help to indicate their year(s) as well.

1 Answer 1

8

Kosovo

On February 17th 2008 Kosovo declared its independence. On October 8th of the same year, the General Assembly requested an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice whether that declaration was in accordance with international law. The court gave its advisory opinion on July 22nd 2010:

For these reasons,
THE COURT,

(1) Unanimously,
Finds that it has jurisdiction to give the advisory opinion requested;

(2) By nine votes to five,
Decides to comply with the request for an advisory opinion;

(3) By ten votes to four,
Is of the opinion that the declaration of independence of Kosovo adopted on 17 February 2008 did not violate international law.

On September 9th 2010, the General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/64/298 that did neither confirm nor reject the independence of Kosovo.

  1. Acknowledges the content of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in respect of Kosovo, rendered in response to the request of the General Assembly;

  2. Welcomes the readiness of the European Union to facilitate a process of dialogue between the parties; the process of dialogue in itself would be a factor for peace, security and stability in the region, and that dialogue would be to promote cooperation, achieve progress on the path to the European Union and improve the lives of the people.

Since then, the General Assembly only concerned itself with Kosovo to prolong the financing of UNMIK.

Crimea

On March 27th 2014 the General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/68/262 in reaction to the referendum held in Crimea:

  1. Affirms its commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders;

  2. Calls upon all States to desist and refrain from actions aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including any attempts to modify Ukraine’s borders through the threat or use of force or other unlawful means;

...

  1. Underscores that the referendum held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on 16 March 2014, having no validity, cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the city of Sevastopol;

  2. Calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on the basis of the above-mentioned referendum and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status.

All resolutions adopted since then concerning the conflict between Russia and Ukraine cite this resolution.

2
  • 2
    Mkay, so Russia got the "Mayotte treatment" at the UN, regarding Crimea. +1 for UNGA on consistency, I guess. The other case (Kosovo) is interesting that the UNGA remained ambiguous. Oct 15, 2023 at 19:12
  • 2
    You might be able to understand the reasons more from the GA protocol, especially the explanations given by the US and Russian ambassadors after the vote. It seems there was a first draft resolution entered by Serbia that was changed to this neutral tone after intervention of the EU. It is all about the question whether the declaration of independence violated Security council resolution S/RES/1244(1999), which the court had said was not the case.
    – ccprog
    Oct 15, 2023 at 20:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .