7 November 2014

Legal arguments for Russia's position on Crimea and Ukraine


 


Summary: Proclamation of Independence by the Republic of Crimea and its accession to the Russian Federation are a legitimate form of the implementation of the right to self-determination by the people of Crimea in the situation when a coup accompanied by the use of force was carried out in Ukraine with an external support.


This form of the implementation of the right to self-determination is the only possible way to protect the vital interests of the people of Crimea in the circumstances when rampant radical nationalist elements in Ukraine exert a strong influence on decisions adopted in the country, which leads to a neglect of the interests of Ukrainian regions and the Russian-speaking population.


This position is based on international law and fully corresponds to it.


Supporting arguments could be divided into the following clusters:


1. The balance between the principles of self-determination and territorial integrity of a State. In Crimea’s situation, the right to self-determination could be realized by secession


The right to self-determination of peoples, along with other fundamental principles of international law, is enshrined in Article 1 of the UN Charter, and confirmed in Article 1 of the 1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 1 of the 1966 Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.


In furtherance of the provisions of the UN Charter, Member States unanimously adopted the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. According to the Declaration, "the establishment of a sovereign and independent State, the free association or integration with an independent State or the emergence into any other political status freely determined by a people constitute modes of implementing the right to self-determination by that people."


The right to self-determination has been repeatedly confirmed by resolutions of the UN General Assembly[1], by decisions of the International Court of Justice[2], and in comments of the Human Rights Committee[3].


Self-determination is but one of generally recognized principles of international law. Another important principle of international law is that of the sovereign equality of States, including the inviolability of the territorial integrity and political independence of States. As indicated in the aforementioned 1970 Declaration of Principles, in their interpretation and application the fundamental principles of international law are interrelated and each principle should be construed in the context of the other principles.


The 1970 Declaration also resolves the question of the balance between the principle of territorial integrity and the right to self-determination, reaffirming the inviolability of "territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples" "and thus possessed of a government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction as to race, creed or colour." This principle was also reaffirmed in the Vienna Declaration of the UN World Conference on Human Rights (1993), which stressed again that the state claiming to defend its territorial integrity and political unity, should possess "a government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction of any kind."


The States in their practice on the whole have agreed that self-determination of peoples, as a rule, should be implemented, nevertheless, in the framework of existing states, in particular by achieving autonomy. Implementation of the right to secession may occur in three cases: in a colonial context, in situations of foreign occupation and in "the most extreme situations."[4]


It should be borne in mind that in practice there are cases of a broader interpretation of the right to self-determination in the form of secession. For example, in 1991, the European Union adopted Declaration on the Guidelines on the European Community Recognition of New States in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union which refer to the right of peoples to self-determination as to the basis for recognizing these states. The criteria for recognizing breakaway states have no reference to any extreme conditions that disallow the peoples to exist within a single state. Moreover, in this document there are no references to the need for observing any constitutional procedure for adopting a decision to secede. It is on the basis of these provisions that the countries of the European Union have recognized Ukraine.


Concerning the situation around Crimea, it is a fact that Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and its accession to Russia took place in extreme conditions of impossibility to implement the right to self-determination within the framework of Ukraine. These extreme conditions were exacerbated by the unlawful rise to power of those who do not represent the entire Ukrainian people. During its more than 20-year history as a part of Ukraine, the people of Crimea failed to realize their right to self-determination within the framework of this State.


In January 1991, in the Crimean region a referendum was held. On the basis of its results the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine adopted a law on the re-establishment of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Four months later, on 19 June, the reference to the re-established autonomy was included in the 1978 Constitution of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (Ukrainian SSR). In September 1991, the Supreme Soviet of Crimea adopted a Declaration of State Sovereignty.


The procedure of deciding on the secession of Ukraine from the Soviet Union violated Article 3 of the USSR law regulating a secession of a union republic from the USSR, according to which the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic had to hold a separate referendum on its presence either in the USSR or in the seceding Republic, i.e., the Ukrainian SSR.


In 1992, the Constitution of Crimea was adopted and the office of the President of Crimea. was established. On 20 May 1994, the Republic of Crimea adopted a law on the re-establishment of the constitutional foundations of the statehood of the Republic of Crimea.


However, on 21 September 1994 the Verkhovnaya Rada of Ukraine renamed the Republic of Crimea as Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC), and in 1995, by a decision of the Verkhovnaya Rada of Ukraine and the President of Ukraine, without the consent of the people of Crimea, the Constitution and the office of the President of Crimea were abolished.


Thus, the status of Crimea as of an independent state within Ukraine was replaced by the status of an Autonomous Republic as a territorial unit of the Ukrainian state.


After the illegitimate and violent seizure of power in Ukraine the situation in terms of the possibility for exercising the right to self-determination within the framework of the Ukrainian state has deteriorated significantly. Ukraine has been swept by murders, massacres, torture, kidnappings, attacks on journalists and human rights activists, imprisonments for political reasons, and flagrant incidents with clearly racist overtones, including anti-Russian and anti-Semitic, organized by order or with a tacit consent of the Kiev authorities. Among other things, a group attempted to overthrow the legitimate authorities of Crimea. There are reasons to believe that this group was controlled by the illegitimate authorities of Kiev.


The latter did not represent the entire Ukrainian people, especially the population of Crimea, and failed to exercise efficient control over the territory or to guarantee law enforcement.


Under these conditions, on 17 March 2014, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Crimea, reflecting the will of the people of Crimea directly expressed by it in a referendum held on 16 March, decided to proclaim the Republic of Crimea as an independent sovereign state and the city of Sevastopol as a city with a special status. On 18 March, the Republic of Crimea concluded an accession treaty with Russia.


It is noteworthy that Ukraine declaring its independence referred to the threat posed by an attempt of a coup in the Soviet Union in August 1991.[5]


Allegations that the principle of territorial integrity of States excludes the implementation of the right to self-determination in the form of secession are not confirmed by practice.


As known, now there are 193 Member States of the United Nations compared to only 55 in 1945. Most of new states emerged as a result of the implementation of the right to self-determination. The latest example of the implementation of this right is the secession of South Sudan. The thesis that the right to self-determination in the form of secession exists only in a colonial context, does not stand the test of practice. In the 1990-s, a number of states emerged in the territories of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, including Ukraine. No one disputed the right of peoples in Eastern Europe to self-determination. The EU countries have reaffirmed its applicability in this context in the above-mentioned Declaration on the Guidelines on the European Community Recognition of New States in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union. This right was enshrined in the 1975 Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). This document focuses primarily on Europe.


The International Court of Justice in its advisory opinion on Kosovo has formulated no constraints associated with the proclamation of independence outside the colonial context.


2. The question of the legitimacy of the secession of Crimea under the Constitution of Ukraine is irrelevant in the context of the implementation of the right to self-determination


Processes of an emergence of a State and its integration into another state are regulated by international law and not by domestic legislation of States. It is a well-known fact that a violation of domestic law of a State does not automatically entail a violation of international law.


For example, a US written statement submitted to the International Court of Justice on the question of Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in respect of Kosovo states the following: "It is certainly the case that declarations of independence may – and in their nature often do – violate domestic law. However, that does not mean that there has been a violation of international law."


The International Court of Justice agreed with this approach and in its analysis of Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in respect of Kosovo did not even examine the question of the validity of that declaration in the light of the Constitutions of Serbia or Yugoslavia. This being so, the following conclusion of the Court is quite interesting:


"The Court has not been asked to give an opinion on whether the declaration of independence is in accordance with any rule of domestic law but only whether it is in accordance with international law. The Court can respond to that question by reference to international law without the need to enquire into any system of domestic law."[6]


Thus, the question whether the process of Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and accession to Russia is in accordance with the Ukrainian Constitution, does not affect the recognition of the legitimacy of this process from the viewpoint of international law. Therefore, in order to deem the declaration of independence of Crimea and the related process in the form of a referendum invalid or illegitimate, one should identify the existence of specific bans on such action in international law. The International Court of Justice in its advisory opinion on Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in respect of Kosovo concluded that "general international law contains no applicable prohibitions of declarations of independence."[7]


However, even if one examines thoroughly the question of whether Crimea’s secession from Ukraine is legitimate under the Constitution of Ukraine, another ICJ conclusion on Kosovo would be very significant in this context as well.


The Court examined the question whether the declaration of independence of Kosovo contradicted the Constitutional Framework and instructions of UNMIK acting as the administration of Kosovo. It is noteworthy that the Court started examining this question only after having concluded that those rules possess an international legal character although these provisions certainly played the role of regulations defining the internal structure and activities of bodies that governed Kosovo.


In this regard, not without interest is the fact that in its analysis of the accordance of the Kosovo declaration of independence with UNMIK Constitutional Framework, the Court stated:


"The declaration of independence… was not intended by those who adopted it to take effect within the legal order created for the interim phase, nor was capable of doing so. On the contrary, the Court considers that the authors of that declaration did not act, or intend to act, in the capacity of an institution created by and empowered to act within that legal order but, rather, set out to adopt a measure the significance and effects of which would lie outside that order.... The Court thus arrives at the conclusion that… the authors of the declaration of independence... did not act as one of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government within the Constitutional Framework, but rather as persons who acted together in their capacity as representatives of the people of Kosovo outside the framework of the interim administration".[8]


Thus, the Court recognized that the persons who declared independence of Kosovo acted outside the interim administration, which means that their actions were not regulated by UNMIK Constitutional Framework.


This conclusion of the Court is fully applicable to the proclamation of the independence of Crimea by the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. When the deputies to the Supreme Council were proclaiming independence they were acting as the bearers of the will of the people of Crimea since the declaration of independence was adopted under the condition of the consent of Crimea’s people, which was freely expressed in a referendum. Consequently, it is about the expression of the will of Crimea’s people on its future status. This process was not governed by the Constitution of Ukraine.


In addition, the "new Kiev authorities" by their illegal actions have destroyed the constitutional order that existed in Ukraine until last February. Legitimate Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by force as a result of actions implemented at Maidan and the decision adopted by the Verkhovnaya Rada of Ukraine contrary to the applicable provisions of the Constitution for an impeachment of a President. An unconstitutional procedure was also used to displace five judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, including its head. This being so, the "Kiev authorities" have no right to grossly violate the provisions of the basic law of their country and, at the same time, serve as its advocates, insisting on an illegitimacy of the referendum in Crimea under the Constitution of Ukraine.


3. States claiming that Crimea’s secession from Ukraine was illegitimate claimed the opposite in respect of Kosovo. The secession of Crimea is much more based on international legal rules than that of Kosovo


A number of states[9] that so far have not recognized the secession of Crimea and its accession to Russia advocated in the International Court of Justice the legitimate nature of the unilateral declaration of Kosovo's independence, which was adopted contrary to the Constitution of Serbia. For example, the United Kingdom in its written statement stressed that "in general, [international law do not] prohibit secession or separation, or guarantee the unity of predecessor States against internal movements leading to separation or independence with the support of the peoples concerned."


In this context, it also makes sense to hold a series of comparisons of the situations around Kosovo and around Crimea:


 



  • At the time of Kosovo’s secession, Serbia had a legitimate, freely elected government and was ready to negotiate with Kosovo on granting it broad powers and a special status. The right of the population of Kosovo to self-determination within the country at the time of the declaration of independence was not limited. The situation in Crimea was different. For 20 years, the status of Crimea within Ukraine had been reducing, inter alia, by abolishing its Constitution. In the context of the anti-constitutional change of government in Kiev and the ensuing wave of nationalism and radicalism, there was a danger that the people of Crimea could be fully deprived of their rights guaranteed by basic documents for the protection of human rights.


 


-        The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo without taking into account the opinion of the population of Kosovo on the whole. The Serbian population of Kosovo actually had no opportunity to express their will on this issue and, in their turn, proclaimed independence from Kosovo. The decision about the independence of Crimea was adopted by popular vote during the referendum with the participation of international observers. The independence of Crimea and its accession to Russia was supported by more than 95% of voters with a turnout of 83%.


 


-        Russia did not interfere in, or exert influence on, the expression of free will by the population of Crimea. Any choice of the people of Crimea during the referendum would have been accepted by Russia. As compared to this situation, the prehistory of self-determination of Kosovo is quite revealing. It covers many years of deliberate policy of the West to encourage separatism among the Kosovo Albanian population together with "humanitarian" bombing of Belgrade and flagrant violations of international law by these countries.


4. The situation around the status of Crimea has analogies with other political and legal precedents that further refute the thesis of its unprecedented nature.


In this context it is particularly interesting to look into the situation of granting the status of a French overseas department to Mayotte, along with the situation of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).


(a) The island of Mayotte


In 1972, the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (also known as Special Committee on Decolonization), established by the UN General Assembly in 1962, included the Comoro Islands in the list of territories about which it would concern itself.


On 15 June 1973, the Government of the French Republic and the Government of the Comoros that at the moment were a French overseas territory possessing, in accordance with French legislation, broad autonomy, signed an agreement on the procedure for the acquisition of independence by the Comoros Islands.


On 24 November 1974, the French Republic adopted a law on an all-Comoros referendum on independence in which an average of 95% of voters opted for independence of the islands.


Given the results of the referendum, on 6 July 1975, President of the State Council of the Comoros Ahmed Abdallah proclaimed unilaterally the independent Republic of Comoros.


However, despite the high average rate of votes for independence of the Comoros, the results of referendum on individual islands varied greatly. While on the islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli the percentage of votes for independence reached 99.9%, the majority of those who took part in the referendum on the island of Mayotte voted against secession from France (63%). Given the results of the referendum on the island of Mayotte, the French Republic on 9 July 1975 proclaimed secession of the islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli and reserved to the inhabitants of Mayotte the constitutional right to decide on the question of secession.


The UN Security Council in its resolution 375 (1975) recommended that the General Assembly admits the Comoros as UN member (France did not participate in the vote). On 12 November 1975, the General Assembly, taking into account the resolution of the Security Council, adopted a resolution granting Comoros membership in the UN and confirmed the necessity for respecting the unity and territorial integrity of the Comoros archipelago consisting of the island of Anjouan, Grande Comore, Mohéli and Mayotte.


In 1976, France vetoed a Security Council resolution aimed at cancelling a referendum on the island of Mayotte on the question of self-determination. On 8 February 1976, a referendum was held on the island, where the question of retaining Mayotte as a part of the Comoros was voted. 99% of the participants voted against retaining Mayotte within the Comoros. On 11 April 1976, a referendum was held on the legal status of Mayotte as a part of the French Republic.


The General Assembly in its resolution dated 21 October 1976 considered null and void the 1976 referendums and referred to paragraph 6 of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples ("Any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations "). France, in its turn, pointed out that General Assembly resolutions are advisory in nature and do not contain legally binding provisions. From 1976 to 1994, under the agenda item entitled "Question of the Comorian island of Mayotte", the UN General Assembly adopted a number of resolutions condemning the presence of France in Mayotte. Since 1995, the question of the legal status of Mayotte was not considered by the General Assembly.


In a 2009 referendum the population of Mayotte approved accession to the status of an overseas department of France.


(b) The Falkland Islands


The ongoing dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands that were seized by the United Kingdom in 1833 continues to the present day.


In March 2013, the United Kingdom decided to reinforce its rights to the islands through a referendum on their political status. The Falkland Islanders were asked: ”Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?” Possible answers were “Yes” or “No’. On a turnout of over 90%, only three voters answered “No”.


Following the declaration of the results, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said:  "I think the most important thing about this result is that we believe in self-determination, and the Falkland Islanders have spoken so clearly about their future, and now other countries right across the world, I hope, will respect and revere this very, very clear result."


The Argentine government dismissed the referendum. The UK Prime Minister blamed Argentina of colonialism.


The Falkland Islands house a major naval base of the United Kingdom.


5. The actions of Russia in the Crimea and Ukraine fully comply with the 1975 Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, and the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine


A thesis that by admitting Crimea as its constitutional entity Russia violated the above-mentioned documents is not based on law; it is motivated exclusively politically.


The 1975 Final Act of the CSCE enshrines the principles of territorial integrity and the inviolability of frontiers[10]. This document, as well as the 1970 Declaration of Principles establishes the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples[11]. Thus, the reasoning about an interaction between the principles of territorial integrity and the right of peoples to self-determination as outlined above may be fully applied to this document.


With regard to the principle of the inviolability of borders, it prohibits assaulting the frontiers, as well as the seizure and usurpation of part or all of the territory of any participating State. However, the realization of the right to self-determination in the form of secession is a natural and legitimate process that lawfully changes frontiers and territories of existing states and therefore can not qualify as a "seizure" or "usurpation".


Such interpretation of this principle was confirmed by the practice of the emergence of states in territories of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and other Eastern European countries that were recognized by the EU and the US (the latter is also a signatory to the CSCE Final Act).


Russia has not violated the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine's Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.


This memorandum is not an international treaty and does not impose additional legal obligations on States, in addition to those that existed at the time of the signing of the Memorandum. It reaffirms the commitment, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing frontiers of Ukraine, as well as to refrain from the use of force against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.


As noted above, all of Russia's actions were undertaken in strict accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act. Ukraine's territorial integrity was destroyed as a result of the policies pursued by the illegitimate authorities who seized power in Kiev, especially policies towards minorities. As known, alongside with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, a joint declaration was issued by the leaders of Russian Federation, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America who, inter alia, confirmed that OSCE commitments are aimed at counteracting the growth of aggressive nationalism and chauvinism. It is the predominance of these trends that led to the secession of Crimea.


The Budapest Memorandum does not commit Russia to compel Crimea to remain a part of Ukraine.


Russia, unlike other countries, strictly fulfils the commitment to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine. During the turmoil in Kiev, the EU and the US repeatedly threatened to impose sanctions on the legitimate leaders of Ukraine. Western envoys almost constantly were on duty at Maidan. The US and EU recognized as their legitimate partners new leaders appointed at the square in violation of all constitutional procedures, not a legally elected head of state.


With regard to the provisions of the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, the Parties also reaffirm the fundamental principles enshrined in the CSCE 1975 Final Act, including respect for the territorial integrity, the inviolability of frontiers existing between them, the right of peoples to freely dispose of their own destiny and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.[12]  


By its actions, the Kiev authorities significantly breached its commitments concerning the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the right of peoples to self-determination by denying Crimea’s right to self-determination.


The Kiev authorities grossly violate Article 11 of the 1997 Treaty that provides that "the High Contracting Parties shall take in its territory appropriate measures, including the adoption of relevant legislation, to prevent and suppress any activity that constitute incitement to violence or violence against individuals or groups of citizens on the basis of national, racial, ethnic or religious intolerance."


The violations of these provisions of the Treaty by the Kiev authorities question their right to refer to Russia's commitments under this instrument.


6. The presence of Russian armed forces on the Crimean peninsula, in accordance with the agreements on the Black Sea Fleet, in no way affects the legitimacy of the declaration of independence of Crimea.


Before and during the declaration of independence of Crimea, the presence of Russian servicemen in Crimea was absolutely legitimate; this presence was allowed by the Agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on the presence of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation in the territory of Ukraine of April 21, 2010. Russia did not violate this Agreement or exceed the ceiling of the total number of military personnel assigned by the 1997 Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.


Russian troops did not intervene in the processes occurring in Crimea, including the process of the referendum and the proclamation of the independence of Crimea, as confirmed by numerous international observers.


The fact of the presence of armed forces in a territory that proclaims independence, does not affect the legitimacy of such an expression of a will. Kosovo may serve as an example in this context. At the time of the proclamation of independence by Kosovo, its territory hosed some 14,000 servicemen from 34 countries in the framework of a NATO mission.





[1] For example, the UN General Assembly  Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (1960), Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations (1970), and others.




[2] “Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa), notwithstanding Security Council resolution 276 (1970)”, Advisory opinion, I.C.J. Reports 1971, pp. 31-32, paras. 52-53; "East Timor” (Portugal v Australia), Decision, ICJ Reports 1995, p.102, para.29; “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory", Advisory opinion, ICJ Reports 2004 (I), pp. 171-172, para. 88; “Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in respect of Kosovo”, Advisory opinion, I.C.J. Reports2010, p 37, para 72.




[3] HRC General Comment No. 12.




[4] The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the case "On the exit of Quebec».




[5] On  August 24,1991, the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR adopted the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, which stated:


"In view of the mortal danger surrounding Ukraine in connection with the state coup in the USSR on August 19, 1991,


Continuing the thousand-year tradition of state development in Ukraine,


Proceeding from the right of a nation to self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other international legal documents, and


Implementing the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine, the Verkhovnaya Rada of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic solemnly declares


Independence of Ukraine and creation of the independent Ukrainian state – UKRAINE.


The territory of Ukraine is indivisible and inviolable.


From this day forward, the Constitution and laws of Ukraine only are valid on the territory of Ukraine.


This act comes into force upon its approval.”




[6] “Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in respect of Kosovo”, Advisory opinion, I.C.J. Reports2010, p. 16, para. 26.




[7] “Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in respect of Kosovo”, Advisory opinion, I.C.J. Reports2010, pp. 39-40, para. 84.




“Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in respect of Kosovo”, Advisory opinion, I.C.J. Reports2010, p. 47-49, paras 105 and 109.




[9] United States, United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Germany and Austria.




[10] III. Inviolability of frontiers


The participating States regard as inviolable all one another's frontiers as well as the frontiers of all States in Europe and therefore they will refrain now and in the future from assaulting these frontiers.


Accordingly, they will also refrain from any demand for, or act of, seizure and usurpation of part or all of the territory of any participating State.


IV. Territorial integrity of States


The participating States will respect the territorial integrity of each of the participating States.


Accordingly, they will refrain from any action inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations against the territorial integrity, political independence or the unity of any participating State, and in particular from any such action constituting a threat or use of force.


The participating States will likewise refrain from making each other's territory the object of military occupation or other direct or indirect measures of force in contravention of international law, or the object of acquisition by means of such measures or the threat of them. No such occupation or acquisition will be recognized as legal.




[11] VIII. Equal rights and self-determination of peoples


The participating States will respect the equal rights of peoples and their right to self-determination, acting at all times in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and with the relevant norms of international law, including those relating to territorial integrity of States.


By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, all peoples always have the right, in full freedom, to determine, when and as they wish, their internal and external political status, without external interference, and to pursue as they wish their political, economic, social and cultural development.


The participating States reaffirm the universal significance of respect for and effective exercise of equal rights and self-determination of peoples for the development of friendly relations among themselves as among all States; they also recall the importance of the elimination of any form of violation of this principle.




[12] Article 2:


The High Contracting Parties in accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter and the obligations under the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe shall respect the territorial integrity of each other and affirm the inviolability of existing frontiers.


Article 3:


The High Contracting Parties shall build relationships with each other based on the principles of mutual respect, sovereign equality, territorial integrity, inviolability of frontiers, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-use or threat of force, including economic and other means of pressure, the right of peoples to freely dispose of their own destiny, non-interference in the internal affairs, human rights and fundamental freedoms, cooperation between states, conscientious fulfilment of international obligations, and other universally recognized norms of international law.