Ukraine asks the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) to provide a definitive interpretation of the ICJ’s Order that was issued one year ago imposing provisional measures on the Russian Federation. Relevant request of 19 April 2018 was delivered today to the ICJ.
In 2017, Ukraine initiated a case against the Russian Federation to hold it accountable for sponsoring acts of terrorism and engaging in racial discrimination in the course of its unlawful aggression against Ukraine. Ukraine requested provisional measures from the ICJ in light of the urgency of the situation, and one year ago, on 19 April 2017, the Court issued an historic decision granting Ukraine’s request. The decision required Russia, among other things, to “refrain from maintaining or imposing limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to preserve its representative institutions, including the Mejlis.”
Despite the clear meaning of this Order, an entire year has passed and Russia continues to maintain its ban of the Mejlis. It is now apparent that Russia does not consider that it must suspend its discriminatory ban on the Mejlis under the language of the ICJ’s Order. Ukraine fundamentally disagrees; the language of the Order is clear and requires the ban to be lifted immediately. Ukraine is therefore asking the ICJ to exercise its judicial authority to confirm that Russia is obligated to suspend the ban on the Mejlis under the Court’s provisional measures order.
In addition to addressing Russia’s treatment of the Mejlis, the ICJ’s Order of provisional measures required Russia to “ensure the availability of education in the Ukrainian language,” and called on the parties not to take action aggravating the disputes before the Court, which encompass both discrimination in Crimea and support for terrorism in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine remains deeply concerned by Russia’s approach to every aspect of the ICJ’s provisional measures order.
With today’s action, Ukraine reiterates that Russia is not above the law. The international community must insist that Russia abide by international law, including the binding rulings of the International Court of Justice.