Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

UN Court takes on Ukraine’s case against Russia, partially grants request to provisional measures

The Members of the Court on 19 April 2017 (Delivery of the Order of the Court). Copyright: UN Photo/ICJ-CIJ/Frank van Beek
UN Court takes on Ukraine’s case against Russia, partially grants request to provisional measures

In line with our readers’ predictions, the UN International Court of Justice has recognized its prima facie jurisdiction in the case of Ukraine against Russia, despite Moscow’s attempts to convince the court that it does not have the authority to consider Kyiv’s requirements (full text of decision). The judges, in particular, examined whether Kyiv fulfilled all procedural requirements and conventions noted that all of Ukraine’s attempts to resolve disputes through negotiations have failed.

The court had rejected Ukraine’s first request – to introduce provisional measures to make Russia implement the demands of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (Terrorism Financing Convention). Ronny Abraham, the President of the Court had announced this decision in The Hague on 19 April. According to the judges, Ukraine had not provided sufficient proof that the Russian side had the goal of killing civilians in Donbas or knew about the corresponding intentions of the Russian-backed militants, which was predicted

The provisional measures Ukraine requested were to compel the Russian Federation to stop the supply of weapons and arms to groups carrying out terrorist attacks and influence them to prevent the carrying out of such attacks. However, Mr. Abraham stressed that the Court’s refusal to grant these measures doesn’t stop Ukraine in its further actions in this accusation, and that the consideration of the case will continue, as this stage doesn’t concern the non-judicature of the UN Court, but only whether Ukraine had fulfilled the requirement of providing necessary evidence for imposing provisional measures. Ukraine will continue filing new evidence in support of Russia’s guilt.

However, in line with expert predictions, the Court granted Ukraine’s request to make Russia comply with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Court ordered to take urgent measures to ensure that the Crimean Tatars have their own representative institutions, including the Mejlis, Russia’s ban on which in occupied Crimea the Court found to be a violation of the Convention. Moreover, Russia should provide Ukrainians in Crimea the right to study in the Ukrainian language.

In making this decision, the judges of the Court took into account a UN 2016 report on human rights in Ukraine, which noted that the Russian “authorities” in Crimea exerted pressure on students and teachers of Ukrainian schools to stop teaching in the Ukrainian language.

Additionally, the International Court of Justice obliged Ukraine and Russia to fulfill the Minsk agreements, despite Russia’s claims that the court proceedings are incompatible with the ongoing Minsk process.

The Court will continue hearings in the case in May, and the sides will continue to supply evidence.

Ukraine’s MFA pleased

The decision of the Court was hailed as a victory in the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. According to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Olena Zerkal writing for Yevropeiska Pravda, the Court took a constructive approach in the case “Ukraine vs. Russia,” despite the fact that it refused to approve provisional measures relating to Donbas, and especially since this is the first decision that the Court has made related to this Convention.

Zerkal noted that the Court supported Ukraine’s notion that the events in Donbas which Ukraine presented are subject to the Convention and that it formally recognized the prima facie (preliminary) jurisdiction over this Convention.

She also said that the decision taken by the Court is “very positive” for Ukraine, and stated that Ukraine “weak spots” were also revealed, and where Ukraine should work more to gather evidence and prove Russia’s intentions within the framework of the Convention on the Financing of Terrorism.

Overview of the case

  • Ukraine has filed a lawsuit against Russia due to violations of the international law by Russia’s actions in Ukraine, specifically – of breaching the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (Terrorism Financing Convention) by funding and supporting militants in the Donbas, and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
  • Russia had claimed that the court has no jurisdiction over the case and that it has not violated the abovementioned conventions.
  • According to Ukraine’s Agent Olena Zerkal, Ukraine’s strategy was to prove that Russia violates numerous UN conventions and show that ICJ has the necessary jurisdiction to rule on the subject. Russia, it its turn, tried to outline the case as the armed conflict, so that it would be regulated by international humanitarian law—the ICJ has only limited jurisdiction in this sphere.
  • Although the ICJ has no means to enforce its decisions, its recognition of prima facie jurisdiction in the case means that the international community has additional leverage in demanding Russia to stand down.
  • Hearings in the case could take several years, which is why Ukraine had requested to apply provisional measures to Russia immediately.
  • The calendar of next hearings in the case will be outlined in May 2017.

With reporting by,

Read also:

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Premium journalism from across Europe.
    • Tailored to your needs, translated into English.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts