Expert Opinion Round-Up: Kiev’s UN Court case is ‘doomed to fail’


March 8, 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

Izvestiya – translated by J. Arnoldski –

Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia in the UN International Court of Justice in the Hague could turn against Kiev itself. Such an opinion has been expressed by a number of Russian politicians and international law experts. 

The Ukrainian side accuses Moscow of violating two conventions – financing terrorism and racial discrimination. But despite Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s promises to provide “evidence” or Russia’s “crimes,” Moscow has said that Kiev to this day has yet to present any serious arguments in favor of its position.

According to the Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, Moscow has good chances of winning in this case, but the “winding down” might take several years. 

“The case’s examination will definitely last long. In practice, such court processes are a slow and incremental process. I predict that it will take more than one year. I have no doubt that the truth is on the Russian side. In the hearings are participating a highly skilled group of Russian experts. They can only be wished confidence and successful results in this litigation. It is important to note that this claim is pseudo-political, and not international-legal in nature,” the senator said.

Member of the International Legal Issues Council of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and doctor of law, Vladimir Kotlyar, emphasizes that this case is fraught with reputation losses for Kiev, as it will help prove the “illegitimacy” of the Ukrainian charges.

Kotlyar explained: “It is not even bad that Ukraine arranged this process, because it has no chances of winning the case. Russia now has a good opportunity to refute all these speculations which Kiev has been busy with for several years. I mean, what kind of racial discrimination can there be? In public opinion polls among Crimean Tatars living on the [Crimean] peninsula, none of the several thousand respondents said they would want to move to another place when asked if they would like to leave Crimea. Several percent responded that they would like to move to another area of Crimea. But 0% would move to Ukraine. All the rest want to live in Crimea along with those who Kiev accuses of racial discrimination.”

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According to this international lawyer, such cases can drag on for years, but in specific cases can go otherwise. The expert believes that Ukraine will not succeed in enlisting the support of the necessary number of judges insofar as they, in Kotlyar’s words, “perfectly see what is happening in Ukraine and Kiev.” 

Kiev’s case contradicts international law because the case itself is fabricated – this is the opinion of Kamil Bekyashev, a member of the Permanent Court of International Justice and Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. 

“Russia never violated these conventions. Ukraine cannot cite a single example of violations by the Russian side. In fact, Russia was behind the drafting of the convention on eliminating racial discrimination, as we do not have any discrimination on racial grounds. Several years ago, Georgia already tried to charge us with this. But the court refused to even hear the claim. With regards to the fight against terrorism, Russia has always fought and is fighting against terrorism. Everyone understands and knows this. Therefore, Kiev’s claim is doomed to fail,” Bekyashev stated. 

The proceedings of the International Court as a rule take a very long time. Therefore, it is not worth expecting any results in the near future. Stanislav Chernichenko, a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, Russian diplomat, and lawyer, clarified this: 

“This is a long story which could last for much longer than a year. Due to the current state of international relations, it is difficult to predict an outcome. We are talking about the UN court, and cases are not solved quickly there. If we speak of the chances of this, then on the one hand, a number of judges are not at all positive in their attitudes towards Russia, but on the other hand, Ukraine, mildly speaking, does not look very good now, given everything going on in the country.”

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For now, the Ukrainian side has yet to present any evidence of “crimes” by Russia which would allow Kiev to win the case. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that Ukraine is shying away from dialogue by any means, and stressed that such cases do not allow disagreements to be resolved. In Moscow’s opinion, Kiev is looking for any excuse to file a lawsuit against Russia in an international court. 

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