ICJ Case: Ukraine vs. Russian Federation, Explained
The Ukrainian evidence base is 17.5 thousand pages about Russia’s involvement in the actions in the Donbass, Crimea
KIEV – For two years, the position of the Russian side in the UN International Court of Justice in the case “Ukraine v. Russia” has not changed. This was announced on June 3 by the head of the Ukrainian delegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal after a three-hour trial, according to the Ukrainian National News Agency (Ukrinform)..
“I cannot comment on why the Russians are repeating the same thing that they already said two years ago, to which they received a clear legal position. I think that the court must decide again in order for them to hear it. But this is a very typical position of them. They continue to call the revolution a rebellion, they continue to talk about the civil war, ”said Elena Zerkal.
According to her, in this way, Russia is delaying the trial..
“This is indeed a delay in the process, since the court will still need time to make a decision – this is until the end of the year, and after that the Russians will be given another 13 months to prepare a memorandum. That is, all this is being done in order to delay the process, “said the head of the Ukrainian delegation, Olena Zerkal..
On her Facebook page, Elena Zerkal noted that the consideration of this case is “essentially a detailed study of all the evidence, expert thoughts and testimonies of witnesses that Ukraine submitted to the court on 17.5 thousand pages a year ago.”.
In the schedule of litigation on the website of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, it is noted that oral hearings in the case “Ukraine v. Russian Federation” will be held from 3 to 7 June on the basis of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of racial discrimination.
The hearing is devoted to the preliminary objections of the Russian Federation, emphasized in the information documents.
The first hearing in the case in The Hague took place on 6 March 2017.
The accusations of the Ukrainian side against Russia include: the provision of weapons and other types of assistance to illegal armed groups; the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17; shelling of residential areas of Mariupol and Kramatorsk; the destruction of a civilian passenger bus near Volnovakha; a deadly explosion during a peaceful meeting in Kharkov; discrimination against the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities; prohibition of the activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people; waves of disappearances, murders, unauthorized searches, detentions; restriction on teaching Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages.
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Trial in The Hague and detentions in Crimea
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In the meantime, there is no need to worry about it. ”Russia’s position on the case in The Hague
Russia notes the “lack of jurisdiction on several grounds” in Ukraine’s claim to the International Court of Justice. This is stated on June 2 in a press statement on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry..
“In particular, we deny the existence of a dispute between the two countries over the aforementioned conventions in principle and intend to substantiate the fact that Ukraine is unfairly trying to use their dispute resolution mechanisms to achieve political goals,” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website says..
Russian diplomats believe that “the civil war unleashed by Kiev in the Donbass is not regulated by the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, and Kiev’s claims about the alleged illegal return of Crimea to Russia cannot be made on the basis of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination”.
As a reminder, on May 25, the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea promulgated a decision on Ukraine’s claim to protect Ukrainian ships with sailors in the Kerch Strait and ordered Russia to release three Ukrainian ships and 24 held Ukrainian sailors..
On Russia’s position: the language of ultimatums
Executive Director of the Center for Social Research “Sofia” Vladimir Lupatsiy notes that Russia demonstrates a “reinforced concrete position”, persistently repeating on all sorts of public international platforms that it has nothing to do with the conflict in Donbass.
“It’s like trying to throw fireballs so that the conflict doesn’t end. We do not see good intentions from Russia. We see the language of ultimatums, rate hikes, the language of pressure. We see Russian unilateral actions – the Russian president left the Normandy format, presented with a fact to all the participants that negotiations would be impossible until the end of the presidential campaign in Ukraine. The elections in Ukraine have taken place – Russia has not returned to the Normandy format and continues to put forward new demands, “Vladimir Lupatsy says to the Voice of America correspondent..
Volodymyr Lupatsiy believes that Russia has no desire to reach the level of conflict settlement in eastern Ukraine.
“At the public level, we saw confirmation from the key international partners of Ukraine – the European Union, the United States, as well as Germany and France, as participants in the Normandy format, support in the implementation of international negotiations. But from the Russian side, we do not see this, ”underlines Vladimir Lupatsiy.
In domestic politics, according to the political scientist, Ukraine is going through a stage of power reset. Vladimir Lupatsiy believes that in the near future the country will not have a “different political agenda, which would be reduced to surrender or reverse” on the issues of Donbass or Crimea..
“The society and professionals, civilians and the military had a lot of questions and complaints about the policy pursued by the previous political leadership. Now we are talking about the fact that the new managers have mastered the levers of power within the framework of the powers that they received, ”says Vladimir Lupatsiy.
He believes that after the completion of the electoral process, the formation of a coalition in the Verkhovna Rada and the appointment of the Cabinet of Ministers, it will be possible to assess the actions of the new leadership of the country on the issues of “war and peace”, the settlement of the situation in Donbass.
Reasoned and incomplete international legal system
Political expert Alexander Solontay believes that Russia is not ready to comply with the decisions of international courts, and to eliminate conditions leading to the violation of the rights of the indigenous inhabitants of Crimea.
“It will be like in the USSR, there will be international decisions on the courts, if we are talking about the Crimean Tatar movement, there will be international processes, but they will not have much influence on Russia. Russia will not fulfill them in terms of eliminating conditions that lead to the violation of the rights of indigenous peoples, human rights, in specific cases. They will simply expel people from the borders of Crimea, thereby, as if demonstrating that the government is making concessions. But the repressions against Crimean Tatars and other activists will continue, ”Alexander Solontai told the Voice of America Russian Service.
Oleksandr Solontay believes that the international legal system is capable of making well-reasoned decisions, but “not thorough” in cases when it comes to the application of punishment for violators.
“And everyone knows it. For some countries, the decision of international courts will be the basis for the imposition of sanctions, for others, accents will be made in the negotiation moments so that Vladimir Putin remains “shaking hands” at meetings. And for other countries, these decisions will not make any difference, ”the expert notes..
According to him, the tasks in foreign policy, on the issues of Crimea and Donbass, the Ukrainian government will form after July 21 – voting in early parliamentary elections.
“Before the parliamentary elections, the authorities will support the functioning of the existing negotiating platforms as much as possible, and after the elections to the Verkhovna Rada, there may be discussions about new formats,” says Alexander Solontay.
Leonid Kuchma headed TCG
Nobody is going to trade the territory, the sovereignty of Ukraine. This was stated by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, representing on June 3 the head of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) at the talks in Minsk Leonid Kuchma.
“We discussed a very important issue for every Ukrainian – ending the war in Donbass. We have a common position – the resumption of negotiations on the Donbass in the Normandy format and the unblocking of the Minsk process. We don’t have many years to end the war. We have specific proposals and new solutions. I would like all proposals to be combined with clear deadlines for the implementation of this or that item. Nobody is going to trade the territory, the sovereignty of Ukraine, ”Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized, according to the press service of the President of the Republic..
In turn, former President Leonid Kuchma, who represented the Ukrainian delegation at the negotiations of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk from 2014 to 2018, noted that he was ready to contribute to the work of the TCG.
“I am used to making decisions, implementing them and being responsible for them. Today’s meeting with the President shows that I have such an opportunity in the group that has been created – to contribute. And if we make agreed decisions, then Ukraine must also implement them, “Leonid Kuchma stressed..
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