Ukraine vs Russia: Arbitration in The Hague to hold hearing of UNCLOS case in October

Ukraine vs Russia: Arbitration in The Hague to hold hearing of UNCLOS case in October

Ukrinform
The International Court of Arbitration, established in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, will hold a hearing in The Hague on October 11-16 of the Ukraine v. Russia case on the seizure of Ukrainian Navy boats and capture of crews near the Kerch Strait in November 2018.

That’s according to Ukrinform's own correspondent in The Hague, referring to the press service of the Permanent Court of Arbitration which is handling the case.

The hearing will take place at the Palace of Peace in a hybrid format. Video conference will be used due to the coronavirus restrictions.

According to the schedule, the hearings will be held in two stages.

On Monday, October 11, the Russian Federation will lead the first round of oral debate. The Ukrainian delegation will have the floor on Tuesday, October 12.

Read also: MH17 trial: Families of victims call on Russia to admit involvement

The second round of debates will take place on October 14-15, 2021.

October 16 remains reserved.

The opening address by representatives of both parties will be broadcast live.

The hearings concern preliminary objections filed by the Russian side.

Background

On November 25, 2018, Russian security forces fired on and captured off the coast of Russia-occupied Crimea three Ukrainian Navy boats– the Berdyansk, the Nikopol, and the Yany Kapu – that were on their way from the Black Sea port of Odesa to the port of Mariupol in the Sea of Azov. Twenty-four Ukrainian crewmen were captured and three of them – wounded.

The Ukrainian navy crews returned to Ukraine as a result of a detainee exchange with Russia completed in September 2019. The servicemen were accused of illegally crossing the Russian border (facing up to six years in prison). Ukraine considers Russia’s act a violation of the immunity of warships.

Read also: ITLOS appoints three arbitrators in Ukraine v. Russia case

On May 25, 2019, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered that Russia immediately release all servicemen and allow them to return to Ukraine, as well as to hand back the seized boats.

On September 7, a 35-for-35 swap took place between Ukraine and Russia, during which 24 captured Navy servicemen were released.

On November 18, 2019, Russia handed over to Ukraine the seized boats. On November 20, the heavily damaged boats docked at the Ukrainian port of Ochakiv.

The first hearing of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on the violation of immunity of three Ukrainian boats and 24 crew members (Ukraine v. the Russian Federation) under the UNCLOS was held in The Hague on November 21, 2019.

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