"No one has yet dared to violate the order of the UN Tribunal": what threatens Russia with a refusal to release Ukrainian sailors
By June 25, the Russian authorities must report to the UN Maritime Tribunal on the implementation of a court order to return the captured Ukrainian sailors to their homeland. Such a ruling of the tribunal issued 25 May.
The meeting, which considered the claim of Ukraine to Russia on the Kerch incident, was held on 10 May. Russia refused to participate in the tribunal, said Present Tense. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia believes that the International Tribunal has no jurisdiction to consider the incident in the Kerch Strait.
According to the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin's position will not change regarding the possibility of releasing 24 Ukrainian prisoners of war sailors - they will remain in custody, despite the decision of the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in favor of Ukraine, writes RBC.
He insists that the investigation against the Ukrainians should be completed “in connection with the violation of the border law” and a trial should be held.
“The position cannot change. The investigation should be completed in connection with the violation of the border law and a trial should take place, ”Peskov said.
On May 27, eight Ukrainian seamen tried to overturn the decision on their arrest in court, but the Moscow City Court dismissed their complaint. Ukraine, in response, threatened Russia with new sanctions.
“Russia wants to show everyone that it will not bend under a court decision”
Will the sanctions help to return the sailors to their homeland and what the lawyers will do to return them in the light of the tribunal's decision, lawyer Ilya Novikov said on the air of “Evening”.
- How do you think, will the sanctions ("Hamburg"), which may be, help the return of sailors?
- This is actually an interesting question. Just so far no one dared to violate the direct order of the International Tribunal of the United Nations on the Law of the Sea. We really do not know for sure what the consequences of this violation might be, because before Russia no one [did it], even Russia itself.
In 2013, there was a case when in the case of the Arctic Sunrise ship of Russia it was ordered to release all crew members and the ship itself, then there were also angry statements from the Russian Foreign Ministry that we do not obey, we do not accept jurisdiction. Nevertheless, Russia submitted and de facto all these people were released. And Russia subsequently paid compensation to Holland for detaining a ship flying the Dutch flag.
“I understand correctly that if Russia is now swiftly conducting a trial of the seamen in some kind of closed regime in order to comply with its Russian formalities and return them to Ukraine after that, will it not be the fulfillment of the tribunal’s will?”
- The Tribunal said: immediately. If the Russian leadership has become accustomed (and it has become accustomed, apparently, over the past five years), when a question arises on someone from the citizens of Ukraine, to respond that, they say, wait, we have an independent court, the court will figure it out, turn the arrows on to court then this court cannot physically begin earlier, say, August.
- So the court can only begin at the end of the summer?
- Yes. Now we have a preliminary investigation. Nobody notified us that it was over. We are now under examination, we have just ended the appeal review of the decision on arrest. So far, there are no signs that the investigation has already been completed or is near the end, formally, we have not.
Therefore, even if it ends tomorrow, how long it will take for us to get acquainted with the materials of this case, how long it will take for us to bring the case to court, what court will it be? Will this court in the Crimea be such a double demonstration of disregard for international law, or will it not be in the Crimea? This will be a trial on the Taman Peninsula, how does this follow from the Russian version of the investigation that Ukrainian ships crossed the Russian border closer to the Caucasian coast than to the Crimean one? Nobody knows that.
But in any case, none of these measures, in my opinion, will not satisfy the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which ordered the release of ships and sailors immediately.
- Russia has put itself in such conditions that for them the decision, the verdict is a more political question. This means the fact of recognition or non-recognition of the Crimea, from the point of view of Russia. As if this is the whole point.
- It really isn't. Everyone understands that the dispute is, in fact, between the defense and the accusation that such a border crossing applies to the border that runs across the sea strait. Togo strait, which is used by ships of neutral countries that have bilateral agreements with Ukraine.
“But, you see, Russia is trying to prove to the whole world that these are internal waters, and, first of all, to prove to Ukraine.”
- This is obviously not possible to do. These waters are not inland waters because it is a strait that is subject to the strait regime established by international law of the sea.
- In the light of the decision of the tribunal, what can it do now? Who should implement the decision of this tribunal in order for Russia to fulfill its demand? Or is there no such mechanism yet?
- Let's fantasize. If we say that Russia, for example, decides that it does not need all this - but it does not need to be imposed new sanctions on it, it is not necessary that its ships should be banned from entering the ports of third countries. It may, for example, turn out to be so completely random that they will now conduct a so-called situational examination (the one that describes the whole situation) in a criminal case, and suddenly it turns out that the Ukrainian ships did not violate the border of Russia.
If it suddenly turns out that if it turns out that they have no corpus delicti, the independent FSB investigator independently decides that there is no more reason to keep them in custody, and the measure can be canceled and the case can be stopped.
Or the case does not stop, only to cancel the arrest and release under a subscription or bail - I think that all interested participants in this story at this stage will be satisfied with this step. This will be perceived as a step by Russia towards the common sense of international law.
- It will not entail any rehabilitation, what is called, action? Relatively speaking, Russia’s claims cannot be brought against these people? Or can they do it later?
- Any lawsuits may be brought, but this is not the question that is now worrying the Russian leadership. The leadership wants to show everyone that they will not bend under the decision of the court. Another week, two weeks, three weeks, maybe they can show it. 25 June they have a time when they are supposed to report to the UN Maritime Tribunal, what was done about this decision. In their best interests, it would be good to have some ready-made course of action by this time.
On the subject: Pompeo first met with Putin: what was agreed. VIDEO
"The decision was made for civilized countries, Russia is not among them"
Viktor Soroka, the father of the captive Ukrainian sailor Vasily Soroka, told on the "Evening" broadcast what was known about his son.
- What will happen to your son now? Is it known, after the decision of the tribunal and today's consideration in the Moscow City Court? What are the next steps?
“We were all looking forward to this decision of the tribunal, we knew that the truth was on our side.” But the only thing is that the decision was made for civilized countries, a pity, Russia is not among them. This is the country of Mordor, which spits on all world orders, on all the laws that all countries follow. Unfortunately, Russia, I think, will ignore the decision of the Marine Tribunal.
- So there will be a trial? You are preparing for it, somehow you communicate with lawyers, what position will be? Will you go there?
- It’s a pity, I am not traveling abroad, I am a volunteer from the very beginning of the war. I helped the Ukrainian army fight for five years. When the son went to the front - and dressed the son, he helped, and the second time, when he went to the front, too. The question is different. Vasya has forbidden us to travel to the territory of Russia, even to the territory of Belarus. We understand that he motivates this by not taking anyone hostage and having no reason to break his position, which he adheres to.
But the most important thing is that today the lawyer said that the condition of his hand has improved, he can already make a half camb. Unfortunately, he can't even take anything in his hand. The dynamics are positive. Just a week ago Vasya was taken to the surgeon who operated on him, the surgeon is afraid that he will have to do another operation.
- But he is being treated with medical care?
- Yes, he had an operation. For four months, they fumbled, eight fragments were taken out of hand. This was one of the reasons to break the resistance, break his spirit. “Just sign up, incriminate your friends - and we will immediately operate on you.” I don't know how, but he survived.
- Does this decision of the International Tribunal matter to you? You yourself say that it can in no way affect the fate of your son right now. But in the end, maybe or not, what do you think?
- No, definitely. A great victory is made up of small victories. And this is one of [small victories]. First there was the resolution of the Parliament of Europe, then the decision of the tribunal. This is getting better, it makes a powerful foundation for the position of our country, in order to get the guys out of captivity. The position of Ukraine is being strengthened, thereby weakening the position of the Russian Federation. And we very much hope that the united Europe together with Ukraine, and also with the support of the United States, will still press and make the laws respect, make the decisions of that tribunal respect, [make] let the guys go home.
As ForumDaily wrote earlier:
- On the morning of November 25, the Ukrainian small armored boats Berdyansk and Nikopol, as well as the tug Yana Kapu, began a planned transition from Odessa to Mariupol. At the Kerch Strait, they were met by Russian border ships, one of which rammed a Ukrainian tug. As a result, the Russian frontier guards with shooting captured three Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait area and captured 24 Ukrainian military.
- As stated in the FSB, they illegally crossed the Russian border and did not respond to the requirement to stop. The Ukrainian Navy said they had warned the Russian side in advance about the transition, but the Russian border guards did not respond to the message of the Ukrainian ships.
- Ukrainian authorities have accused Russia of aggression. After this incident, on November 26, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine voted for imposition of martial law for 30 days in the 10 regions of the country and in the inland waters of the Azov-Kerch water area.
- November 29 US President Donald Trump canceled the meeting with the head of Russia Vladimir Putin, which was to be held in Argentina on the sidelines of the G20 summit. The reason for the cancellation was the situation with the Ukrainian ships captured in the Kerch Strait, explained Trump in his microblog Twitter.
- The release of the sailors was also demanded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. But so far all the efforts of international diplomats have not brought results.
- 30 November US senators say Moscow’s actions are “provocative”, destabilize the region and cause further escalation of the conflict.
- April 16 Ukraine 2019 appealed to the maritime tribunal with a request to take urgent action in relation to Russia, in order to free the Ukrainian sailors and ships seized in the Kerch Strait. Ukrainian sailors are still in Russian captivity, criminal proceedings have been initiated against them.
Read also on ForumDaily:
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