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Manchester International Law Centre statement on the situation in Ukraine

International law applies to all states equally and without exception.

We are gravely concerned by Russia’s use of armed force against Ukraine which constitutes a serious breach of international law. We deplore the continuing and manifest violations of the Charter of the United Nations, including the prohibition of annexation and colonization, as well violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. 

Those states assisting Russia in its war of aggression are complicit in the unlawful actions and bear responsibility for their wrongful aid and assistance in the commission of such actions. 

Those individuals perpetrating a crime of aggression must also face criminal prosecution according to the applicable rules of international criminal law. 

None of the exceptions to the prohibition to the use of force recognised in the United Nations Charter and by international law are applicable in the current circumstances. We accordingly condemn any and all attempts to take advantage of such exceptions, including the right of self-defence. The purported claim that Russia is responding to genocide is without discernable foundation as it is nothing more than a smokescreen for its serious violations of international law. 

We condemn all ongoing violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Civilians are protected under international law and should never be targeted. There must be guaranteed access for humanitarian actors. 

We are appalled by the racialised discourses and narratives of civilisational superiority. We condemn all acts of discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.

We recall that, under international law, all states have a duty to cooperate to bring to an end through lawful means the serious breaches of international law committed by Russia and the states aiding and assisting it.

This statement is without prejudice of our equally strong condemnation of the serious breaches of international law witnessed in other conflicts in the world.