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Russians renew denial of war's legality - want ruling from UN

[JURIST] In an address to the State Duma (lower house of the Russian Parliament) in Moscow Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov offered his country's latest legal assessment of the war in Iraq:

This action does not have legal grounds, of course. Attempts to justify it by referring to earlier UN Security Council resolutions are futile because, according to Resolution 1441, the degree of Baghdad's cooperation with the UN should be evaluated by the UN Security Council on the basis of UNMOVIC and IAEA reports. In other words, only the UN Security Council itself can determine any violation of Resolution 1441 by the Iraqi side and decide what actions should be taken in this context in accordance with Chapter VII of the UN Charter and if there are grounds for the use of force against Iraq. In the absence of any such decision by the Security Council the use of force against Iraq - I want to stress this anew - has no legal grounds.....

There are also questions about the announced plans for the military occupation of Iraq. In the absence of the appropriate decision of the UN Security Council, such occupation will be unlawful because it will be a result of the unlawful use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of a state.
Read the full text of the Russian Foreign Minister's address, now online from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Press reports of the speech indicate that Ivanov - perhaps departing from his prepared text - said that Russia would protest the Iraq war by asking the United Nations to determine if the United States had broken international law. "Together with other states, we will put this question before the U.N.'s legal department," he is quoted as saying, adding "these arguments must be confirmed so we can use them as a strong weapon."

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