Kosovo and Crimea: the new instability of states

Date & time
1–2pm Wednesday 13 August 2014
Auditorium, Australian Centre on China in the World, Building 188, Fellows Lane, The Australian National University, Canberra
Professor James Crawford AC SC, University of Cambridge


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One element of the post-1960 consensus on self-determination was a refusal to extend it to non-colonial peoples, at least where secession was sought. But the accidents of litigation (Quebec Opinion, Kosovo Opinion) combined with a variety of political factors in the former USSR (notably Crimea) and elsewhere raise the question whether legal protection of the stability of States is breaking down. Is this a new reality or an optical illusion?

Professor James Crawford is Whewell Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge and also holds a Research Chair at La Trobe University and the Chang Jiang Professorship, Xi’an Jiaotong University. He is appointed Senior Counsel in New South Wales and is also a member of the English Bar practising from Matrix Chambers. He appears frequently before the International Court of Justice and other international tribunals, and is engaged as expert, counsel and arbitrator in international arbitrations. He has been engaged as Counsel for Australia on a number of occasions including recently in Whaling in the Antarctic and currently in the Case Concerning Questions relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data. He lectured and held chairs at the University of Adelaide (1974 – 86) and the University of Sydney (1986 – 92). Professor Crawford was a full-time Commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission between 1982 – 84.

Professor Crawford is a candidate for election as a Judge of the International Court of Justice with those elections being held later this year.

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