Comments by the Department of Information and Press of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in Connection with the Proceedings Instituted Against the Russian Federation with the International Court of Justice by Ukraine
17 January 201714:05
In view of the application filed by Ukraine against Russia under the International Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, we hereby note the following.
The Russian Federation has always strongly condemned all forms of terrorism and actively combats it. Naturally, we pay very close attention to compliance with our obligations in this sphere. The Russian Federation had genuinely attempted to clarify the nature of Ukraine's claims investigating its statements in good faith, however, it faced the persistent unwillingness of Ukrainian authorities to engage in a substantive dialogue and, finally, with the unilateral termination of consultations by the Ukrainian side. Ukraine failed to provide any confirmation of its position that there existed any circumstances that would fall under the Convention. It must be noted that during consultations the Ukrainian side labelled the DPR and the LPR, the participants of the Minsk process, with which Ukraine itself conducts negotiations thereunder, as “terrorists”. We do not understand how allegations of “terrorism” can comport with the Minsk process, whereby the parties, with the help from international mediators, are trying to find a balanced solution for peaceful settlement of the conflict.
At the same time our questions regarding a number of incidents in the territory of Ukraine (for example, the attacks on the Russian diplomatic and consular missions) were left without any satisfactory answer.
The proposal to establish a neutral international arbitration pursuant to an agreement between the parties that could resolve this situation also did not suit Kiev. Apparently, from the onset, Ukraine’s main (or maybe even the only) aim consisted not in settling any disagreements but rather in finding a reason to file an application against the Russian Federation with the International Court of Justice.
As a multi-national and multi-religious state, the Russian Federation pays great attention to compliance with its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Harmonious development of interethnic relations is the primary focus of the Russian state authorities. Therefore, we take all questions that may arise in connection with the implementation of the Convention very seriously, regardless of who may raise them.
The Russian Federation has thoroughly studied the questions of the Ukrainian side with regard to the implementation of the Convention and made a good faith effort to provide the necessary comments. However, the approach adopted by the Ukrainian side showed a lack of interest in the substantive discussion of these issues. A suggestion was made to Ukraine to compare the Russian and Ukrainian legislation and practice in this sphere in order to find a common understanding of the best way to protect the people’s rights and substantively deal with each specific situation. Several proposals were made to review the experience of the Ukrainian authorities with regard to implementation of the Convention in Crimea prior to its reunification with Russia and to compare it with Russia’s approaches. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian side showed no interest in the dialogue with Russia and, having unilaterally terminated the consultations, decided to file an application with the International Court of Justice.
Moreover, Ukraine has ignored the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – an expert body established under the Convention to settle any differences if such arise.
It is important to note that in its diplomatic notes and in the course of consultations Russia posed a number of questions to Ukraine in relation to the rights of the Russian and Russian-speaking population in Ukraine. However, Ukraine avoided substantive dialogue on this issue.
It is clear that as far as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is concerned Kiev is also not interested in actual protection of the people or compliance with the agreements. The application against the Russian Federation with the International Court of Justice only serves some short-term political interests.
The Russian Federation intends to use all available remedies at law. A more detailed comment may be made after the procedural documents are perused.
This comment is made without prejudice to any rights of the Russian Federation in the course of the potential proceedings and may not be regarded as waiver of any claims or objections that the Russian Federation may have in relation to the competence of the Court or admissibility of Ukraine’s complaints.
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