Students call for ceasfire in Russia-Ukraine conflict in a simulated UN Security Council

Faculty of Law - Common Law Section
United Nations
International Law

By Common Law

Communication, Faculty of Law

United Nations' Security Council - Law of International Organization - November 2022
Laurent Lavallée
In a mock Security Council meeting, 14 Common Law students called for cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of forces and negotiated settlement for the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

In a simulated meeting of the UN Security Council, convened on 14 November 2022, Common Law students adopted a resolution calling for ceasefire, cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of forces to internationally recognized borders, and negotiated settlement of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

In this meeting, the replicated Council considered three draft resolutions prepared and negotiated by students in the past two months. Two of these draft resolutions were not adopted. A draft resolution presented to the Council by the Western European and other States Group (WEOG) and supported by other members of the Council was not adopted due to the use of veto by the Russian Federation. On the other hand, a draft resolution presented by Russia, received only one vote in favor and thus was not approved. A draft resolution presented jointly by China and India, passed by 13 votes. Here are summaries of the draft resolutions.

The draft resolution presented by China and India emphasizes on the resolution of the conflict by peaceful means. It recalls the relevant provisions of the UN Charter on the peaceful settlement of disputes and demands that the parties to the conflict abide by their obligations under the Charter and settle their disputes by peaceful means. The draft also deplores violations of the Minsk agreement and calls upon its parties to work constructively in relevant international frameworks, including in the Normandy format and Trilateral Contact Group, towards its full implementation. Furthermore, the draft calls for the observance of immediate ceasefire in the conflict and end to the hostilities. Additionally, the draft demands an impartial, objective, and fair investigation into violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and decides that both parties should be held accountable for violations of the IHL and human rights law. This draft was passed by 13 votes in favor with no votes against or abstention.

The draft resolution presented by WEOG, condemned the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and reiterated its respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of Ukraine, and called for immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. It declared that the referenda conducted in eastern provinces and regions of Ukraine were illegal without having any legitimacy. The draft also called for accountability of parties vis-a-vis violations of the IHL and supported the ongoing investigation by International Criminal Court on possible commission of war crimes in the territory of Ukraine. Further, the draft resolution condemned the threat to use all weapons available including hinting at the use of nuclear weapons which would be chaotic to the world’s security and the future of human and others lives. This draft received 10 votes in favor, one vote against and two abstentions. The draft resolution was not approved due to the use of veto power by the Russian Federation.

The draft resolution presented by the Russian Federation blamed Ukraine for violations of the Minsk agreements, including violations of human rights by Ukraine in its eastern provinces. It emphasized that the Russian intervention in Ukraine intended to end 8 years of impunity which was at the root-cause of the conflict. The draft, further, emphasized that the referenda in the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics, as well as in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions were carried out in full conformity with the norms and principles of international law. Moreover, the draft resolution condemned the Western countries support for Ukraine in the war. This draft was not adopted because it received one vote in favor, nine against with two abstentions.    

This simulated meeting was the sixth event organized by Dr. Mirzaei in his seminar of the Law of International Organizations. Previous simulated meetings of the Security Council were organized in January 2018 (on the situation in North Korea), Fall 2018 (on the situation in Yemen), Fall 2019 (on the negotiation between Iran and p5+1 over Iranian nuclear energy program), Fall 2020 (on COVID 19 Pandemic), and Fall 2021 (on the situation in Afghanistan).

This practice-oriented seminar provides a unique opportunity for students to learn how the UN system works and gives them a chance to learn practicing as delegates, including preparing draft resolutions, negotiation, and decision-making in the UN organs. It is an invaluable experience for students interested in international law.

This practice-oriented approach will be followed in the “Seminar on Documenting UN Practice", CML 4108 and DCL 6121, which will be taught for the 13th consecutive year in the January-Winter 2023 session. Registration for this seminar is now open for graduate and upper year students. Interested students must submit their applications, together with their CVs to Professor Saeid Mirzaei Yengejeh ([email protected]).

Dr. Mirzaei has over 30 years of experience at the United Nations, both as an international civil servant and a governmental representative. To learn more about his background and work, please visit his profile.