Non-Recognition of Illegal Annexations: Will the Rule of International Law Hold?

Public talk by Lauri Mälksoo, Visiting Fellow at Stanford University.

Online event, on Thursday, January 20, 2022
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM.

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The rule in international law which prohibits forcible seizure of territory has lately come under pressure, for example when Russia seized and annexed Crimea in 2014. In the presentation, we will take a look back at the history of this rule,
including the Western non-recognition of the Soviet annexation of the Baltic States in 1940-1991, of which Mälksoo has written a leading monograph. Current threats to the rule will be discussed such as the ideas that great powers are entitled to historic justice which may differ from what international law dictates or there is a regional international law dictated by the leading great power in the region. With President Putin’s demands to the US and NATO, these international legal questions have again become utterly topical.

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Lauri Mälksoo is Professor of International Law at the University of Tartu and also a member of the Institute de Droit International and the Estonian Academy of Sciences. He has published widely on international law and human rights, including monographs “Illegal Annexation and State Continuity” (Brill, 2003) and “Russian Approaches to International Law” (OUP, 2015). He has co-authored and co-edited “Russia and the European Court of Human Rights: the Strasbourg Effect” (CUP, 2017) and is currently co-editing the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of International Law in Europe. He is one of the editors of the Baltic Yearbook of International Law at Brill. Recently, he was elected member of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and is also a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Dr. Mälksoo holds the 2022 Short-Term Research Fellowship at Stanford University for Estonian Scholars from January 10–February 23, 2022. During his stay at Stanford, Dr. Mälksoo aims at utilizing Stanford’s Baltic archives on the non-recognition of the US and the other Western States and finalizing the second edition of his 2003 book “Illegal Annexation and State Continuity: The Case of the Annexation of the Baltic States by the USSR” (Brill/Martinus Nijhoff), which is considered in scholarly and policy circles as one of the leading academic expositions of the international legal and political argument that the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) since 1991 are identical with the Baltic States that were annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.

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The event is hosted by The Europe Center and co-sponsored by Stanford Libraries.

https://library.stanford.edu/blogs/stanford-libraries-blog/2022/01/public-talk-visiting-fellow-lauri-malksoo-non-recognition