The famous French legal scholar Norbert Roulean noted that there is no doubt that the majority of the Crimean residents were in favor of joining Russia, and drew analogies with the secession of Kosovo from Serbia and the disappearance of East Germany. The opinion of the lawyer is quoted by The Conversation, whose article was translated by Inosmi.
Crimea joined Russia following a referendum held in March 2014. However, Ukraine and Western countries did not recognize the results of the vote. On July 1, the majority of Russians voted to introduce a number of amendments to the Constitution, one of which implies a ban on the alienation of Russian territories.
According to Rulan, the adoption of amendments to the Russian Constitution brought the issue of Crimea’s ownership back to the fore. And the amendments to the main law of Russia can be interpreted as “the final ban on the potential return of Crimea to Ukraine.”
“From a legal point of view, it was necessary for the referendum held in Crimea to be organized and recognized by the Kyiv government, which was out of the question. (…) This is due to the principle of the territorial integrity of states, which is designed to ensure international stability. Nevertheless, this principle may conflict with the right of peoples to self-determination, ”said Norbert Rulan.
He recalled that the Kosovo region seceded from Serbia after a referendum. At the same time, the UN and a number of Western countries considered that the independence of Kosovo did not violate the norms of international law.
“For comparison, we can recall the circumstances of the disappearance of the GDR. The ruling party lost in free elections on March 18, 1990. On August 23, the new parliament voted to expand the FRG constitution to the territory of the GDR. (…) There was no referendum, as in Crimea, but the defeat of the ruling party was a clear indication of the will of the people, ”the lawyer emphasized.
He also noted that relations between Russia and the West deteriorated long before the annexation of Crimea. And Moscow believed that Western countries repeatedly stepped over international law or biasedly interpreted it to their own advantage.
“The international order that the UN provided from 1945 to the 1990s no longer exists. The Crimean crisis only intensified and accelerated the already existing process, ”the scientist is sure.