An Alternative to Zombieing: Lawfare between Russia and Ukraine and the Future of International Law

15 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2022 Last revised: 14 Feb 2023

See all articles by Jill I. Goldenziel

Jill I. Goldenziel

National Defense University; University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: June 20, 2022


Lawfare, the purposeful use of law as a weapon of war, has been an integral feature of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Russia has used lawfare to complicate Ukraine’s response to its invasion of Crimea and the Donbas, most famously through use of “little green men” to create plausible deniability for its military actions. Ukraine has launched a novel and highly public “Lawfare Project,” filing cases before the International Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights, International Tribunals on the Law of the Sea, and World Trade Organization, with an investigation by the International Criminal Court also underway. This lawfare strategy has bolstered the legitimacy of Ukraine’s cause, delegitimized Putin, garnered Western support for the war, cost Russia billions, and helped keep China on the sidelines. Lawfare between Russia and Ukraine has tremendous implications for the use of lawfare in armed conflict and the future of international law itself.

Keywords: Russia, Ukraine, lawfare, war, security, international humanitarian law, international law, law of war, international arbitration, arbitration, law of the sea, ITLOS, UNCLOS, UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court

JEL Classification: K10, K32, K39, K42, Z10, Z20, Z28, Z29

Suggested Citation

Goldenziel, Jill I., An Alternative to Zombieing: Lawfare between Russia and Ukraine and the Future of International Law (June 20, 2022). 108 Cornell Law Review Online 2023, Available at SSRN: or

Jill I. Goldenziel (Contact Author)

National Defense University ( email )

300 5th Ave
Ft McNair
Washington, DC 20319
United States

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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