2023/ 2024

James Devaney

Mobility Phases: Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe (KFG), ‘The International Rule of Law - Rise or Decline?’, Freie Universität, Berlin | German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Division of Public International Law, Berlin

Using EU Sanctions on Russia to Compensate Ukraine: Norm Collision and the Protection of the International Rule of Law in Europe

James Devaney is Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He has studied law at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy (PhD 2015, LLM 2012), the University of Glasgow (LLM (distinction) 2010) and the University of Strathclyde (LL.B (Hons) 2009). He has previously been a visiting scholar at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge, the University of Sydney, and been a fellow of the Berlin-Potsdam Research Group (KFG) “International Law – Rise or Decline?” He also teaches in a visiting capacity at the Universities of Sydney, Australia and Kobe, Japan.

His research interests relate primarily to international courts and tribunals and legal reasoning, although he has published on a range of areas of international law. His monograph, ‘Fact-Finding Before the International Court of Justice’, which focusses on the use of evidence before international courts and tribunals including the adjudicative bodies of the WTO and inter-State arbitration, was published by Cambridge University Press, and nominated for the Peter Birks Book Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship. He is also a Member of the Bar of the State of New York.

Using EU Sanctions on Russia to Compensate Ukraine: Norm Collision and the Protection of the International Rule of Law in Europe

In February 2023 the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union announced the setting up of a Working Group to examine the possibility of using frozen Russian assets to compensate Ukraine. Swedish Prime Minister Kristersson stated at the time, “Russia must pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine. At the same time, this poses difficult questions. This must be done in accordance with EU and international law, and there is currently no direct model for this.” The current research project asks: can such a model be developed, and crucially, can it be implemented without jeopardising the international rule of law in Europe?

The implementation of EU sanctions runs up against legal protections afforded by the law of state immunity, the human right to property, or the protection of foreign investments. In certain situations, it may well be that the law does not provide a clear answer as to which norms should apply - leading to decisions based on moral and political rather than legal justifications. This highlights the pressing need for the humanity-focussed framework developed in this project, which provides a principled legal justification for choosing certain norms while at the same time safeguarding the international rule of law.