UN Convention on the Law of the Sea: Kyiv ready to address Russia’s objections before tribunal

UN Convention on the Law of the Sea: Kyiv ready to address Russia’s objections before tribunal

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Ukrinform
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry considers Russia's objections to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal hearing Ukraine’s case against the Russian Federation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea unfounded and is ready to address them before the Tribunal. 

This is said in the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the jurisdictional phase in the case under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea concerning the coastal state rights in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait (Ukraine v. the Russian Federation).

 “On 31 August 2018, the Tribunal hearing Ukraine’s case against the Russian Federation under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS”) published a procedural order determining that it would rule on certain jurisdictional objections raised by the Russian Federation in a preliminary phase of the proceedings… Ukraine does not believe that the Russian Federation’s jurisdictional objections are plausible or that they will be accepted by the Tribunal,” the statement reads.

The Ministry reminds that on 19 February 2018, Ukraine filed a Memorial with the UNCLOS Tribunal establishing that Russia has violated Ukraine’s sovereign rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait.  Ukraine’s Memorial showed that, since 2014, Russia has unlawfully excluded Ukraine from exercising its maritime rights. Rather than respond to the merits of Ukraine’s case, the Russian Federation filed objections to the jurisdiction of the UNCLOS Tribunal on 22 May 2018, as permitted by the Tribunal’s rules of procedure.  As is common practice in inter-state disputes, the UNCLOS Tribunal has elected to hear these objections in a preliminary phase of the proceedings, before hearing the case on the merits.

 “Russia’s primary jurisdictional objection is that Ukraine’s claims do not actually concern UNCLOS, but instead are an attempt to obtain a ruling confirming Ukraine’s sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula.  This objection blatantly misconstrues Ukraine’s claim.  Ukraine has brought a dispute concerning maritime rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait that are established under and defined by UNCLOS.  That Ukraine enjoys such maritime rights is recognized by the international community — for more than two decades after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine's continuous and peaceful exercise of the rights now at issue attracted no controversy,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry stressed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs looks forward to fully addressing each of the Russian Federation’s jurisdictional objections before the UNCLOS Tribunal, and to returning to the merits of its case as expeditiously as possible. 

“Ukraine believes that Russia must and will be held accountable for its serious breaches of the international law of the sea,” says the statement.

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