Emory International Law Review


Since NATO's intervention in Kosovo, the invocation of sui generis, or unique circumstances, has been used to justify circumventing international law on the use of force and state secession. In this Article, Professor Christopher Rossi addresses lessons learned from NATO's 1999 intervention in Kosovo and adapts those teachings to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. Professor Rossi exposes internal tensions within the United Nations Charter system that threaten to further weaken the system and expose it to dangerous manipulations. These weaknesses help explain why two of the most significant doctrinal developments to emerge from the midst of Kosovo'the Responsibility to Protect and remedial secession'have retreated from earlier enthusiastic assessments of their prospects in international law. Professor Rossi concludes by pointing out that embedded in the recourse to the sui generis claim is the cautionary belief that its invocation may mask extra-legal intentions as support international law's progressive development.