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The Eternal Territory? The Crimean Crisis and Ukraine’s Territorial Integrity as an Unamendable Constitutional Principle

Suteu, S; Roznai, Y; (2015) The Eternal Territory? The Crimean Crisis and Ukraine’s Territorial Integrity as an Unamendable Constitutional Principle. German Law Journal , 16 (3) pp. 542-580. Green open access

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Abstract

This article reflects on the protection of territorial integrity in the Ukrainian constitution, especially on its provision of unamendability, against the backdrop of the 2014 Crimean crisis. At the general level, we examine whether constitutional theory can offer answers when confronted with the apparent inefficacy of a constitutional claim to eternity. More specifically, we focus on what the Ukrainian case can teach us about the implications of designating territorial integrity or indivisibility of a state as an eternal/unamendable constitutional principle. Building on insights from the Crimean crisis, we argue that the unamendable protection of territorial integrity is an especially ineffective type of eternity clause because it is subject to both the internal threat of secession and the external risk of forceful annexation. The preservative promise of unamendable territorial integrity is severely curtailed by this double vulnerability, even when backed by a constitutional court with far-reaching powers of judicial review. Territorial integrity as an eternal constitutional principle then remains merely aspirational. Moreover, we argue that the act of entrenching territorial protection as an unamendable principle is in clear tension with the idea of popular sovereignty and with mechanisms for expressing popular will.

Type: Article
Title: The Eternal Territory? The Crimean Crisis and Ukraine’s Territorial Integrity as an Unamendable Constitutional Principle
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56330ad3e4b...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10040221
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