The Russian Federation’s attack on Ukraine violates fundamental principles of law and humanity. As lawyers and philosophers, we recognize the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all members of the human family to be the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world. Terror attacks against civilians, expansionist attacks against democratic states, and denial of the right of self-determination of peoples all violate basic requirements of justice and international law.
The Russian Federation’s act of aggression shows flagrant contempt for the suffering of its many victims and their basic human rights – human rights the Russian Federation is bound to respect as ethical principles and mandatory international law. These victims also include many Russian soldiers who are driven into this criminal war and are in great number perishing in it.
The attack on Ukraine brazenly violates fundamental principles of the international order beyond human rights, in particular the prohibition of the use of force, the right to self-determination and the prohibition of intervention in the internal affairs of other states. The attack on Ukraine forms a manifest act of disdain for the values of democracy, which are rooted in the dignity of human beings as free and responsible agents, entitled to equal political self-determination and liberty. The Russian Federation’s aggression replaces the rule of law with the rule of destructive force. It violates some of the most important imperatives that the many tragedies of human history and the best parts of human reflection about moral principles have taught us to respect.
The overwhelming support of people around the world for Ukraine’s just cause proves how crucial human rights, democracy, the rule of law and a peaceful international order are for any just world order. The many Russians who courageously oppose this war at great personal risk to themselves show how dearly these principles are held in Russia itself.
This war unfolds in a moment of history in which humanity is called to work together on a global scale to solve the existential problems it faces, in particular climate change. The war and its consequences threaten to destroy the basis for meaningful international cooperation for many years in a time when such cooperation is a necessary precondition to avert the dire consequences of a failure to address these challenges.
The IVR joins the many voices demanding an immediate stop to Russian aggression, a withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory and the search for a diplomatic, peaceful, and politically sustainable solution of the crisis. On behalf of the world’s philosophers of law, we extend our profound sympathy to our colleagues in Ukraine, to the people of Ukraine, and to the many victims of Russian aggression. People around the world must stand together, so that Ukraine does not suffer the same tragic fate as Grozny and Aleppo.
Prof. Dr. Matthias Mahlmann
President of the IVR
Executive Committee Members (signatures as of 7 March 2022):
Anne Kühler (Switzerland) General Secretary
Mortimer Sellers (USA), Immediate Past President
Véronique Champeil-Desplats (France), Vice-President
Marcelo Galuppo (Brazil), Vice-President
Gülriz Uygur (Turkey), Vice-President
Sanne Taekema (Netherlands) Vice-President
Juan Pablo Alonso (Argentina)
Amalia Amaya (Mexico)
Andres Botero-Bernal (Colombia)
Ann Cudd (US)
Klaus Günther (Germany), Treasurer
Jasminka Hasanbegovic (Serbia)
Isabel Lifante (Spain)
George Pavlakos (United Kingdom)
Giorgio Pino (Italy)
Lorenz Schulz (Germany)
Michael Sevel (Australia)
Hirohide Takikawa (Japan)
Jin-Sook Yun (Republic of Korea)
Wojciech Zaluski (Poland)
Mauro Zamboni (Sweden)
Annette Brockmöller (Germany)
Christoffer Wong (Sweden)
This statement (as of 7 March 2022) can also be downloaded as a pdf-file.