The Ukrainian Crisis: International Politics and Legal Implications

Date: 8 December, 4pm
Place: Small Hall (pieni juhlasali), Main Building of the University of Helsinki, Fabianinkatu 33


The Ukrainian crisis has raised fundamental questions about the present European legal order. How to end the military conflict? What is happening to human rights, self-determination, and the boundaries of the European Union? Tensions are high in Eastern Ukraine, Russia’s role is controversial and the legal status of Crimea is dubious. Is international law being violated? By whom? And with what consequences? Are sanctions a useful tool to deal with the crisis?

The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights has invited four experts to debate the legal and political ramifications of the crisis. The panel will be composed of two speakers from Ukraine and Russia, Oleksandr Merezhko (Kiev National Linguistic University) and Igor Gretskiy (School of International Relations, St. Petersburg), the Russia specialist Sinikukka Saari (Finnish Institute of International Affairs), and Jarna Petman (Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki). The panel will be chaired by the Director of the Erik Castrén Institute, Martti Koskenniemi.

The event, open to the public, will take place in the Small Hall (pieni juhlasali), Main Building of the University of Helsinki, Fabianinkatu 33 on 8 December at 4pm.

Registration required at:

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Oleksandr Merezhko is the Head of the Chair of Law at the Kiev National Linguistic University. He also holds a professorship at the Andrzej Modrzewski Academy in Krakow, and is a legal counselor to the legal firm “Engarde”, Kiev. His areas of expertise are public and private international law, international trade law, and law and practice of the European Union.

Igor Gretskiy is Associate Professor at the School of International Relations, St. Petersburg State University. His research interests include Russia’s foreign policy towards Post-Soviet states, international relations of Central and Eastern Europe, Russia-Poland and Russia-Ukraine relations. He has held visiting fellowships at universities in Germany and Poland. Gretskiy has published a research monograph devoted to foreign impact on the Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, articles and papers in Russian, English and Polish. He has contributed op-eds to Kyiv Post, Russia Direct, as well as Russian-language print-media.

Sinikukka Saari is a Senior Research Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Helsinki. She earned her PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2007). She has conducted extensive research on political developments in Russia, Russian policy in the post-Soviet space, EU–Russia relations, the EU’s Eastern Partnership and conflict resolution in the post-Soviet space.
Jarna Petman is Vice Dean of the Faculty of Law (International Affairs & Community Relations) and Senior Lecturer (att. to the duties of Professor) of International Law at the University of Helsinki. She is also a member of the European Committee of Social Rights of the Council of Europe, Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists, and Editor-in-Chief of the Finnish Yearbook of International Law.

Martti Koskenniemi is the Director of the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights and an Academy of Finland Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki. His fields of interest are international legal history, state succession and human rights with publications in these fields. Current research interests include the fragmentation of international law. He has been appointed Centennial Professor 2013–2016 at the London School of Economics, and Professorial Fellow 2014–2019 at the Law School of the University of Melbourne.


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