The Budapest Memorandum of 5 December 1994: Political Engagement or Legal Obligation? Cover Image
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The Budapest Memorandum of 5 December 1994: Political Engagement or Legal Obligation?
The Budapest Memorandum of 5 December 1994: Political Engagement or Legal Obligation?

Author(s): Thomas Grant
Subject(s): Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence, International Law
Published by: Instytut Nauk Prawnych PAN
Keywords: treaties; legal obligations; political commitments; use of force; international security; non-proliferation and disarmament; general rule of interpretation; supplementary means of interpretation

Summary/Abstract: Ukraine, upon giving up the nuclear arsenal left on its territory by the USSR, entered in 1994 into a Memorandum on Security Assurances with the United Kingdom, United States and Russian Federation (Budapest Memorandum). Since the crisis began between the Russian Federation and Ukraine in February 2014, a number of States have invoked the Budapest Memorandum. Unclear however is whether this instrument constituted legal obligations among its Parties or, instead, is a political declaration having no legal effect. The distinction between political instruments and legal instruments is a recurring question in inter-State relations and claims practice. The present article considers the Budapest Memorandum in light of the question of general legal interest – namely, how do we distinguish between the legal and the political instrument?

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 34
  • Page Range: 89-114
  • Page Count: 26
  • Language: English