Ex injuria jus non oritur
(Latin – Right can not arise from offense)
In modern international law state territory (including the airspace and territorial sea), together with the government and the public at its borders is a physical and social meaning of the state as a subject of international law. An integral part of national sovereignty is territorial supremacy - providing by the state of higher and undivided power within its territory.
According to the rules and principles of modern public international law the territorial rule of any state has such items as imperium and dominium. Thus imperium means the providing of the sovereign power of the state within its territory and dominium - simultaneously public and legal ownership of the territory.
As territorial sovereign the state alone shall decide all questions relating to the administrative and territorial division, establishment of national law enforcement, determination of the legal regime of each part of its territory. Only the will of the state rules the existence and activities of any foreign element within its territory.
Sphere of territorial rule of states defined by a border. Thus, the borders set limits to state territory. With its internal law the state establishes the legal regime in the border areas: the order of the state border protection, its modes, regulates the conditions of entry / exit, staying in the border areas.
According to the Constitution of Ukraine and the relevant rules of international lawthe Autonomous Republic of Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine and one of the administrative units of the State of Ukraine.
The decision of the Russia’s Council of Federation on the use of armed forces in the territory of an independent sovereign state is contrary to international law.
Contemporary international law recognizes only the legitimate territorial changes that occur on a voluntary and equal basis, in strict accordance with the provisions of the international agreements on the basis of the sovereign will of the population, ethnic composition, economic community and the historical rights of the parties.
Territorial changes based on respect of the right of peoples to self-determination needed to ensure the integrity of their valid national territories.
Plebiscite in contemporary international relations stands in three ways: 1) as the legal basis of territorial changes, 2) as a concrete means of putting into practice the principle of self-determination of peoples and nations, and 3) as a democratic mean of territorial disputes resolving.
In the first case, the use of the plebiscite is based on the principle of national sovereignty, which establishes the territorial supremacy of the people and nation.
In the second case, the plebiscite is based on the principle of self-determination of peoples and nations and, finally, in the third case – the base is the principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes.
Plebiscite – is an important method of peaceful settlement of territorial disputes. However, its application is possible only after the parties reached an agreement on the cessation of hostilities, armistice in any of the following in Article 33 of the UN Charter way. Resolving the territorial dispute using plebiscite could take place only in case of the consent of both parties.
In modern international law applicable the whole system of people’s will detection. For example, a referendum, resolutions of mass public organizations, protests, polls and more.
Questions submitted to a plebiscite and referendum are very important for the people of the territory, which defines itself. They relate to the national, political, economic interests.
Since the plebiscite and referendum have much in common, they are often taken in a similar sense. Despite the great similarity, these concepts can not be equated. They are two separate institutions of law: a plebiscite – of an international law, referendum – of state law.
The plebiscite receives its law base mainly in international treaties and resolutions of international organizations, and the referendum - in the state constitutions and other legislation. Plebiscite and referendum vary, primarily on the subject of voting. By plebiscite carried determination of peoples and nations and their territorial settlement. It should be taken into account that international legal personality in the proper sense of the word may have (and have) not all, but only a limited number of nations - nations that are not registered as the state, but tend to create them in accordance with international law.
The subjects of the referendum are important matters of state: the establishment of forms of government, election of the President, determination of the form of government, adoption of constitution and its modifications and additions.
However, the actions of the Russian Side can be described as an act of annexation (forcible earning of a certain area).
On the eve of World War II it has been proposed so-called “Stimson doctrine” about the non-recognition of changes on the territory that have occurred through the use of violence, contrary to the requirements of international law to such operations. This approach is contained in the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, dated 24 October 1970 ( also: GA / Res. 2625 [XXV], UNYB 1970):
“The territory of the State shall not be the object of acquisition of another State resulting from the threat or use of force. No territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal”.
However, according to the UN Charter (Article 2, paragraph 4), violent change of areas shall be void and has no legal effect. In addition, such actions should be considered as an attempt to launch a military conflict, which is a violation of international law, because it prohibits the use of force or threat of force (other than in case of self-defense), and obliges states to resolve all disputes in peaceful manner.