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The legal front against the aggression of the Russian Federation

On June 8, 2018, at the Diplomatic Academy named after Gennadiy Udovenko at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, an international conference "Violations by Russia of International Law: Implications for Peace" was organized by the Russian Research Center with the participation of the Ukrainian Branch of the International Law Association.

In his address, the president of the Ukrainian Branch of the Association, Vice-President of the Ukrainian Association for Foreign Policy, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador Oleksandr Kupchyshyn emphasized that the opening of the legal front of the opposition to Russian aggression is a significant and rather powerful component to the military and diplomatic front.

To date, three lawsuits have been accepted by international courts: the International Court of Justice is considering a lawsuit against Russia on the violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1965; The International Court of Justice is investigating a lawsuit on Russia's violation of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism of 1999; The United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is considering a lawsuit against Russia on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. At the same time, claims to the International Court of Justice concerning violations of the said conventions are dealt with in the package, as they were formulated by Ukraine in one claim.

The positive aspect in the lawsuit of Ukraine regarding the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is the interim decision of the UN Security Council on April 19, 2017 on so-called security measures. As to the claim of Russia's violation of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, in this case, for today, only one "iron" argument - this is beaten down by the Russian military Malaysian "Boeing". In order to add new arguments to Ukraine in favor of these lawsuits, the relevant Ukrainian structures still need to work hard.

With regard to Ukraine's claim of Russia's violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, on May 12, 2017, MT has already set up an Arbitration Tribunal for its consideration of five members. These are representatives of South Korea (head), Algeria, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Russia. The range of claims of Ukraine is wide, tied to the annexation by Russia of Crimea. This is mining of fossils on the continental shelf, obstacles to fishing, freedom of navigation, construction of a bridge in the Kerch Strait. On February 19, 2018, Ukraine submitted to the Arbitration a Memorandum setting out the necessary arguments. However, the composition of the Arbitration leads to serious reflections on its decision.

Today, the question arises, even assuming that the decisions of the UN and the UN International Law on the Law of the Sea will be as favorable as possible for Ukraine, will Russia be able to comply with these decisions? Judging by the practice of the attitude of contemporary Russia to international law, one can confidently predict the ignorance of the decisions of these international judicial bodies by the Russian authorities. Russia already does not fulfill the interim decision of the UN Security Council on April 19, 2017 to lift the prohibition on the activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. Consequently, it is necessary to search for other possibilities for bringing Russia to account for violation of the UN Charter, aggression against a sovereign member of the United Nations and violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

In turn, People's Deputy of Ukraine many convocations Ivan Zayets stressed that the Ukrainian authorities should immediately engage in the preparation of a consolidated claim of Ukraine to Russia.

He was actively supported by the well-known Ukrainian lawyer-internationalist, Ambassador Volodymyr Vasilenko. He developed this thesis, noting the need to create a state interagency commission as soon as possible with the involvement of competent specialists.

Particular attention deserves the speech of People's Deputy of several convocations, Chairman of the All-Ukrainian public movement "The Power of Law" Andriy Senchenko. He noted that in the territory of Ukraine today there are about 2 million citizens who have suffered as a result of Russia's military aggression. Even so much in the temporarily occupied territories of the Donbas and the Crimea. It is a family of military and civilians, wounded and raped military and civilian, military prisoners, civilians illegally deprived of their liberty and tortured in the occupied territories, citizens who have lost their personal property and internally displaced persons. The total amount of damage inflicted by Russian occupation and aggression to only 2 million citizens of Ukraine, which are in the free territory of Ukraine, calculated on the basis of the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, already exceeds 100 billion euros. In the face of the lack of systematic actions by the authorities on the legal front, all the burden on protecting the legitimate rights of Ukrainian citizens who suffered from Russian aggression was assumed by a non-government nonprofit organization "The Power of Law". The basis of the legal strategy of protection is the concept of functional immunity of the state, recognized by the countries of the general and continental law. Specialists of the "Force of Law" created a non-state system of free legal aid to people who suffered from aggression and occupation. In all regions of Ukraine, legal advisers are established and are in operation. Today, work has already begun with more than 15 thousand people who suffered from Russian aggression. In this case, the following three goals are pursued: 1) to help affected citizens receive compensation for the damage caused; 2) to punish the financial state-aggressor; 3) fix by court decisions facts of armed aggression, occupation, war crimes, violation of human rights in the occupied territories. In a short time, according to A.Senchenko, without the participation of the state, positive court practice was formed: more than 150 judges in different courts in 24 regions of Ukraine issued more than 400 court decisions establishing legal facts of causing harm to our citizens as a result of armed aggression of the Russian Federation. This jurisprudence has already been backed by dozens of decisions of appellate courts and several decisions made by the new Supreme Court of Ukraine. The courts adopted individual decisions to recover from the state aggressor the amount of damage inflicted on Ukrainian citizens. In this case, in all cases, the party involved the state - Russia, which sends relevant communications through the Russian embassy in Ukraine. Judgments have already been imposed on the arrest of Russian assets in Ukraine worth $ 3.5 billion. The property of citizens of Russia and Russian diplomatic institutions for these decisions is not used.

Professor of Japanese University, Kobe Hakun, Dr. Okabe Yoshiko, was in solidarity with Ukrainian colleagues to ensure the territorial integrity of Ukraine. He cites an example of a long-standing problem of defending Japan's right in a dispute with Russia on a group of islands historically forming the northern territory of Japan. He reported that according to individual estimates, more than half of the inhabitants of these islands are Ukrainians of their descent, whose grandparents and parents were forcibly deported there.

Almost all experts who participated in the speeches and discussion of the problem, and these well-known Ukrainian diplomats, scientists, public figures and foreign guests, had the same opinion - work in the legal field of the struggle for Ukraine's independence, its sovereignty and the protection of the rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens should be substantially strengthened both by the state and by civil society.

Volodymyr Ohryzko, the head of the Russian Research Center, Ambassador, Minister of Foreign Affairs (2007-2009), member of the Ukrainian Association of Foreign Policy, in his address to the participants of the conference on the results of her work thanked for a thorough analysis of the state of affairs, and said that all proposals would be properly elaborated and implemented. He also stressed that this event was only the beginning of further work to promote the Ukrainian authorities and encourage its foreign partners to respond to Russia's systematic neglect of international law and order.

Petro Shatkovsky,
a member of the Ukrainian branch of the Association of International Law,
specifically for Vector News
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