Since the beginning of the illegal aggression of the Russian Federation in the Crimea, the rights to use Ukraine’s marine area in the area of the annexed Crimea in these zones have been violated and usurped by the aggressor state.
Russia does not give Ukraine the opportunity to carry out economic activities at the Odessa gas field, has undertaken operations to extract hydrocarbons on it, regulates the use of subsoil in the maritime zones of Ukraine, and attempts to illegally revoke licenses issued by domestic state bodies. In addition, Moscow appropriated other hydrocarbon deposits within the continental shelf of our state, and blocked private individuals and enterprises of Ukraine from fishing in marine areas.
Also, the Kremlin blocks passage of vessels to the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait, independently moved and appropriated the “Peter Godovanets”, “Ukraine”, “Tavrida”, “Sivash” and the special purpose ship “Centaurus”. The book value of assets lost from acts of violence of the RF at sea amounted to more than 14.9 billion hryvnia. On certain facts of criminal offenses, Ukraine was forced to conduct an investigation within the framework of national legislation and initiated arbitration proceedings against the Russian Federation in order to recover property and compensate for the damage.
In this regard, Ukraine seeks to achieve the suspension by the Russian Federation of violations, as well as the protection of its rights in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, including Ukraine’s rights to the natural resources of the continental shelf of the Crimea that belong to the Ukrainian people.
Back in 2016, speaking from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Minister of Justice of Ukraine Pavel Petrenko said that Ukraine had submitted documents to the International Court of Justice on the suit against the Russian Federation due to violation of maritime boundaries. P. Petrenko then said: “We prepared the necessary documents and evidence base about the violation by the Russian side of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism of 1999, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1965, and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea” .
December 22, 2016, a tribunal was formed, which in early 2017 began the consideration of the case on the lawsuit of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. In September, in fulfillment of the instruction of the President of Ukraine P.Poroshenko, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine initiated a dispute over Russia’s violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Ukraine has created all conditions to prove in arbitration that the aggressor defiantly violates Ukraine’s sovereign rights to enjoy guaranteed rights in its offshore areas and on the continental shelf in the maritime zones adjacent to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
And on May 12, 2017, the first procedural meeting of the Tribunal for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea took place, within the framework of which an arbitration was established to consider the dispute between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. During the meeting, the court held consultations with the parties on the procedural framework of arbitration, including a calendar for oral and written statements. The Ukrainian delegation was headed by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Elena Zerkal. The delegation of the Russian Federation is the director of the legal department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Roman Kolodkin.
On May 18, 2017, the court adopted the rules of arbitration procedure against the backdrop of discussion at the first session on procedural matters. The arbitration consists of five members of the tribunal under the chairmanship of a judge from South Korea. It also includes judges from Algeria, Mexico, Russia and the UK.
According to the approved procedure for the consideration of the case, until February 19, 2018 the Ukrainian side must provide a memorandum containing a statement of the circumstances on which Ukraine relies, a statement on the issue of law and explanation. The Russian Federation, in turn, will have to conduct preparatory work before November 19, 2018, in order to submit its counter-memorial containing any objections to jurisdiction and / or admissibility, a response to the Ukrainian memorandum, any counterclaims and necessary explanations.
After that, until April 19, 2019, Ukraine will be able to respond to the Russian counter-memorial, and the Russian Federation will have the opportunity on September 19, 2019 to submit its repeated objections.