On Eastern Europe, ‘Whataboutism’ and ‘West(s)plaining’: Some Thoughts on International Lawyers’ Responses to Ukraine

Author: Patryk I. Labuda
Published: 12.04.2022
The invasion of Ukraine has spawned a flurry of commentary from international lawyers. Much of it has focused on traditional doctrinal disputes, such as the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction in Ukraine or interpretation of international humanitarian law. But there have also been voices that situate the Ukraine war and international legal responses thereto in a wider context, including by criticising the role of human rights in inciting the war, the West’s neglect of Global South crises, or international law’s Euro-centrism. While these critiques are well-intentioned, I want to offer some critical thoughts on these critical (and nominally progressive) responses –…