Did Crimea have the right to secede from Ukraine? Was there a legal basis for the referendum held on March 16? Can the Russian Federation lawfully absorb Crimea without Ukraine’s consent?
These are some of the legal issues addressed in an informative blog post by Peter Roudik, the Director of the Global Legal Research Center at the Law Library of Congress. As Roudik notes, the answers to these questions often involve constitutional and/or statutory interpretation.
Georgetown students can access primary law from Ukraine and Russia via The Foreign Law Guide and Hein’s World Constitutions Illustrated. In addition to providing foreign law materials in their original languages, these resources also provide English-language translations, when available.
As events in Crimea continue to unfold, take advantage of these additional library resources to help you understand the legal aspects of crisis. For background information on relevant international law concepts (such as secession, self-determination, and sovereignty), consult the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law. To keep abreast of recent scholarly commentary on the dispute between Ukraine and Russia over Crimea, visit the debate map compiled by Oxford Public International Law.
For timely insights into the Russian perspective on the crisis, it can be helpful to review the English-language publications of the Russian media, such as this article from English edition of Pravda and this article from The Voice of Russia, as re-posted on the website of the Canadian Centre for Research on Globalization.
If you have any questions about using these and other foreign and international law resources, please contact a reference librarian.