ITLOS appoints three arbitrators in Ukraine v. Russia case

ITLOS appoints three arbitrators in Ukraine v. Russia case

Ukrinform
President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Judge Jin-Hyun Paik, has appointed three judges as arbitrators in the arbitration proceedings instituted by Ukraine against the Russian Federation.

“On 10 July 2019, further to consultations with the Parties, President Paik appointed Mr Donald McRae (Canada), Mr Rüdiger Wolfrum (Germany) and Mr Gudmundur Eiriksson (Iceland) as arbitrators in the arbitration proceedings instituted by Ukraine against the Russian Federation in respect of a dispute concerning the detention of three Ukrainian naval vessels and the twenty-four servicemen on board,” reads the press release published on the website of the

As noted, President Paik also appointed Mr McRae as president of the same arbitral tribunal.

The corresponding decision was made after the Agent of Ukraine informed the President of the Tribunal that no agreement had been reached between the Parties on the appointment of the three remaining members of the arbitral tribunal and requested to appoint them.

As reported, on November 25, 2018, Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian Navy ships, the Berdyansk, the Nikopol, and the Yani Kapu, heading from Odesa to Mariupol, near the Kerch Strait. In addition, their crewmembers, 24 Ukrainian sailors, were captured. Three of them were wounded.

A Russian-controlled court in the occupied Crimea arrested all the detained Ukrainian sailors on charges of alleged illegal border crossing. They are held in a remand prison in Moscow now.

On January 24, 2019, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution officially requiring Russia to treat captured Ukrainian sailors in accordance with the Geneva Convention’s provisions on prisoners of war.

Ukraine appealed to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea requiring the Russian Federation to release the captured naval vessels and return them to the custody of Ukraine, to suspend criminal proceedings against 24 detained sailors, to release them and allow them to return to Ukraine.

On May 25, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 captured sailors. Both sides are to submit a report on enforcement of the order to the Tribunal within up to June 25, 2019.

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