International experts: Confiscation of frozen Russian assets is legal

February 22,2024 449
International experts: Confiscation of frozen Russian assets is legal

The confiscation of frozen assets of Russia abroad, including funds of the Russian Central Bank, does not contradict international law, stated a group of international legal experts in a letter to G7 countries, as reported by Bloomberg.

The letter, which was circulated to G-7 capitals and obtained by Bloomberg News, is co-signed by ten international law experts and practitioners from Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US who seek to make the legal case for seizing the assets in question,” the text reads. Among those who signed the letter are Harold Hongju Koh, a Yale Law School professor and former dean, and the Hoover Institution’s Philip Zelikow, an attorney and former career diplomat.

The experts propose using the frozen Russian assets to compensate for the damages caused by Russia through a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“We have concluded that it would be lawful, under international law, for States which have frozen Russian State assets to take additional countermeasures against Russia, given its ongoing breach of the most fundamental rules of international law, in the form of transfers of Russian State assets as compensation for the damage that has resulted directly from Russia’s unlawful conduct,” the experts wrote.

In total, after sanctions against Russia, nearly US$300 billion has been frozen. The majority of Russian funds are currently held in European Union countries. Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, the estimated cost of post-war recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine has increased to US$486 billion.

Earlier, it was reported that, on February 12, the European Union Council approved rules defining the legal status of proceeds from frozen Russian assets within the EU and mandated their storage in separate accounts. The decision is a part of establishing a mechanism to use income from Russian assets abroad for Ukraine.

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