Here’s why Ukraine is suing Russia in the International Court of Justice (Videos)

“Essentially Ukraine is demanding compensation from Russia for the damage it says Russia has done to Ukraine through its aggression in eastern Ukraine and because of the harm Ukraine alleges Russia is doing to the Ukrainian and Tatar minorities in Crimea.Two questions about this case immediately stand out: (1) its timing; and (2) why does it fail to ask that the International Court of Justice declare that Crimea’s unification with Russia is contrary to international law?” The Videos below this article tell a different story that is counter to Ukraine’s claims and refute any and all evidence that they may or may not present to the contrary.  

by  Alexander Mercouris The Duran: 

Ukraine’s case in the ICJ looks like a device to avoid paying the likely High Court Judgment for payment of the $3 billion debt Ukraine owes Russia.

The case Ukraine is bringing in the International Court of Justice is attracting scant international attention and has been almost entirely ignored by Western governments and by the Western media.  Having said this it is an interesting case which begs a number of obvious questions.

Ukraine’s claim is set out in an indictment which apparently runs to 45 pages.  The summary of its claim, which is dated 17th January 2017, can be found here.

Essentially Ukraine is demanding compensation from Russia for the damage it says Russia has done to Ukraine through its aggression in eastern Ukraine and because of the harm Ukraine alleges Russia is doing to the Ukrainian and Tatar minorities in Crimea.

Two questions about this case immediately stand out: (1) its timing; and (2) why does it fail to ask that the International Court of Justice declare that Crimea’s unification with Russia is contrary to international law?

(1) Timing of the Case

The case was brought on 16th January 2017, three years after the Maidan coup, three years after Ukraine and Russia found themselves in conflict with each other, and almost three years after Crimea seceded from Ukraine and united with Russia and eastern Ukraine rose up against the new Maidan government in Kiev.

Why has this case been brought only now?

There is in fact an obvious answer to this question.  In January 2017, when this case was brought, the High Court in London finished hearing Russia’s application for summary Judgment in the case Russia has brought against Ukraine for payment of the $3 billion eurobond debt Ukraine owes Russia.  A decision is expected in April.

Ukraine’s defence in this case is that it does not owe Russia any money because of the amount of the $3 billion debt has been extinguished by the far greater amount Ukraine says Russia owes Ukraine arising from the damage Russia did to Ukraine as a result of its aggression in eastern Ukraine.

I have always said that I believe that the High Court is likely to rule that it has no jurisdiction to hear this defence to the Russian claim.  Way back on 21st April 2015, long before the case was brought, I explained why I thought this defence was unlikely to succeed

The debt is not repayable because Russia has made its repayment impossible by committing military aggression against Ukraine

Russia categorically denies it is committing aggression against Ukraine.

The Russians would undoubtedly argue that the question of whether or not Russia is committing aggression against Ukraine has been answered in their favour by Ukraine’s signature to the Minsk Memorandum. This treats the Ukrainian conflict as a civil war and commits Ukraine to a process for its settlement.

The High Court would anyway almost certainly refuse to look at this question. It would probably again say this a matter for the International Court of Justice. It is anyway doubtful even if Ukraine could persuade the High Court that Russia had committed aggression against Ukraine that this cancels Ukraine’s whole debt.

(bold italics added)

It seems to me that what has happened is that Ukraine’s lawyers have now given Ukraine the same advice.

They must have told Ukraine that Ukraine is likely to lose the case in the High Court because the High Court will almost certainly say it has no jurisdiction to hear Ukraine’s defence since the question of whether Ukraine is entitled to compensation from Russia because of Russia’s alleged aggression against Ukraine is not an issue the High Court in London is able to decide.  The High Court will almost certainly say this is a matter for the International Court of Justice.

Ukraine has therefore brought its claim in the International Court of Justice in order to pre-empt what looks like a Judgment against it in the High Court.

Possibly Ukraine is hoping to persuade the High Court to stay enforcement of its Judgment until after the International Court of Justice has made its decision.  If so then it is unlikely to succeed.  The High Court is most unlikely to order a stay of one of its Judgment for payment of a debt until another court makes a ruling on an entirely different matter.

More likely Ukraine is hoping to persuade the IMF – with which it is currently negotiating for further funding, and whose Board is due to review its lending to Ukraine on 20th March 2017 – to disregard any Judgment the High Court makes which declares Ukraine in default of its debt to Russia on the grounds that the question of whether Ukraine owes money to Russia will not be finally decided until the International Court of Justice makes its decision.

Russia is a member of the exclusive Paris Club of creditors.  The IMF is supposed to stop all lending to Ukraine if the High Court declares Ukraine is in default of its debt to a member of the Paris Club.  Presumably Ukraine is hoping that the IMF, which has already relaxed this rule, will set it aside completely in Ukraine’s favour on the basis that the question of whether Ukraine owes money to Russia will not be finally decided until the International Court of Justice makes its decision.

If this is the argument Ukraine intends to make to the IMF (which I suspect it is) then legally speaking it is desperate.

Even if Ukraine wins its case against Russia in the International Court of Justice, any compensation it is awarded cannot be enforced against Russia through the ordinary courts.  It would be entirely up to Russia to decide whether or not to pay it.  Russia would almost certainly refuse to pay it.

By contrast since the claim Russia is bringing against Ukraine in the High Court is for payment of a eurobond (which is a promissory note) any Judgment Russia obtains against Ukraine can be enforced immediately.

There are therefore no logical or legal grounds for the IMF to say that Ukraine is not in default to Russia if the High Court says it is, simply because Ukraine is bringing a case against Russia in the International Court of Justice.

At this point however a word of caution is in order.  Since the IMF has been lending to Ukraine for essentially political reasons all along, a cynic might say it will accept whatever argument Ukraine makes however legally dubious or threadbare it might be so that it can continue lending to Ukraine irrespective of what it’s own rules say.

All I would say about that is that that may indeed happen but if it does then legally speaking we are in unknown territory, with the Russians quite possibly in that case seeking to enforce their Judgment by taking legal action in the US and European commercial courts to seize Ukraine’s IMF bailout funds.  That would be an extraordinary and unprecedented situation, and I do not know what the eventual outcome or the long term repercussions would be, and I doubt anyone else does either.  However I suspect the long term repercussions would be huge, and I also suspect that there are people within the IMF’s bureaucracy who think the same and who will if only for that reason be counselling against it.

The High Court is expected to decide whether or not to grant Russia’s application for summary Judgment in April.  The stakes could not be higher.  That makes it understandable why Ukraine has brought its case in the International Court of Justice now, however desperate legally speaking that course might be.

(2) Crimea

Putting aside these highly technical (though potentially very important) issues,  the single most striking omission in the case is that though Ukraine repeatedly refers in its claim to Crimea’s unification with Russia as an ‘illegal occupation’, and claims compensation for the alleged ‘discrimination’ and ‘oppression’ by Russia of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar minorities in Crimea, it does not actually seek a declaration from the International Court that the unification of Crimea with Russia is contrary to international law.

The reason Ukraine has failed to do this is because its lawyers have undoubtedly advised it that if it were to seek such a declaration the International Court of Justice would refuse to grant it.

This is because the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion on Kosovo has previously ruled that a declaration of independence made by the people of a territory declaring themselves independent of a country to which that territory belongs are not acting contrary to international law even if their action is made unilaterally, is backed by the use of force (including outside force), and is contrary to the constitutional arrangements and laws of the country from which they are declaring themselves independent.

The Western powers lobbied the International Court of Justice hard to obtain the Advisory Opinion on Kosovo.  When they obtained it they hailed it as a famous victory.  Since then they have come to regret it bitterly, and since Crimea cited it in its unilateral declaration of independence from Ukraine they have completely stopped talking about it.

The Russians by contrast talk about the Advisory Opinion on Kosovo whenever the subject of the alleged ‘illegality’ of Crimea’s unification with Russia is brought up.  President Putin was the first to do so in the speech he made immediately following Crimea’s unification with Russia on 18th March 2014

As it declared independence and decided to hold a referendum, the Supreme Council of Crimea referred to the United Nations Charter, which speaks of the right of nations to self-determination. Incidentally, I would like to remind you that when Ukraine seceded from the USSR it did exactly the same thing, almost word for word. Ukraine used this right, yet the residents of Crimea are denied it. Why is that?

Moreover, the Crimean authorities referred to the well-known Kosovo precedent – a precedent our western colleagues created with their own hands in a very similar situation, when they agreed that the unilateral separation of Kosovo from Serbia, exactly what Crimea is doing now, was legitimate and did not require any permission from the country’s central authorities. Pursuant to Article 2, Chapter 1 of the United Nations Charter, the UN International Court agreed with this approach and made the following comment in its ruling of July 22, 2010, and I quote: “No general prohibition may be inferred from the practice of the Security Council with regard to declarations of independence,” and “General international law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence.” Crystal clear, as they say.

I do not like to resort to quotes, but in this case, I cannot help it. Here is a quote from another official document: the Written Statement of the United States of America of April 17, 2009, submitted to the same UN International Court in connection with the hearings on Kosovo. Again, I quote: “Declarations of independence may, and often do, violate domestic legislation. However, this does not make them violations of international law.” End of quote. They wrote this, disseminated it all over the world, had everyone agreed and now they are outraged. Over what? The actions of Crimean people completely fit in with these instructions, as it were. For some reason, things that Kosovo Albanians (and we have full respect for them) were permitted to do, Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in Crimea are not allowed. Again, one wonders why.

(bold italics added)

By failing to ask the International Court of Justice to declare Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and subsequent union with Russia to be contrary to international law Ukraine appears to be conceding the point.  Though Ukraine and its Western allies will doubtless go on calling Crimea’s secession from Ukraine ‘illegal’, in terms of international law there are actually no grounds to do so.  Ukraine’s conduct of its case in the International Court of Justice effectively admits as much.

As to the eventual outcome of the case, I am not an expert in this field.  I understand the Russians are denying that the International Court of Justice has the jurisdiction to hear the case.   I suspect they are right and that the International Court of Justice will agree with them.

Even if it doesn’t and even if the case goes to a full hearing – which may take years – I doubt Ukraine will be able to prove many of the claims it is making, or that it will achieve much or indeed anything in the end by bringing the case.  The stony silence of Western governments and of the Western media about the case all but says as much.

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The Odessa Massacre – What REALLY Happened

Contrary to what the mainstream media has tried to convince you, it’s not at all a mystery how the fire started in Odessa, Ukraine and it’s not at all a mystery who started it. We owe it to the victims to expose what really happened.
Full Transcript and sources:http://stormcloudsgathering.com/the-o…

On that page you will have links to the images in question, but we won’t assault you with them by surprise.

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Anger Over Odessa Reaches Donetsk: Russian Roulette in Ukraine (Dispatch 34)

As the Ukrainian military launches an offensive on the rebel-held town of Sloviansk, members of the self-proclaimed state of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are continuing a campaign of government building takeovers.

On Sunday, DPR protesters were able to take the military prosecutor’s office and a local council building. VICE News followed the group as members burned the Ukrainian flag and arrested a suspected provocateur. The man was seen being bundled into a car while covered in blood, his destination unknown.

DPR protesters headed to a government debt collection office on Monday and delivered an ultimatum to freeze the discovery of listed debts by PrivatBank — Ukraine’s largest bank — in Donetsk. The bank has stopped operating in the Donetsk region, citing alleged intimidation of its staff. This has led to long lines outside branches as people desperately try to withdraw money.

When approached by the protesters, the manager of the office very calmly said he would get back to them in the next few days — at which point the men, some with guns, withdrew.

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Why the Crimea referendum was fair – Journalist Graham Phillips on the ground in Ukraine

Journalist and blogger Graham Phillips joins us live from the south of Ukraine, having just returned from Crimea where he was covering the recent – and controversial – referendum there.

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Crimea Referendum: 93% of voters want Crimea to join Russia – exit polls

About 93 percent of voters in the Crimean referendum have answered ‘yes’ to the autonomous republic joining Russia and only 7 percent of the vote participants want the region to remain part of Ukraine, according to first exit polls.

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Sevastopol and Crimea Celebrate Referendum Results!

‘We are going home at last,’ – people say. – ‘We waited for this day for 23 years! Our dream came true.’ Do you still believe that the Crimean citizens voted on referendum at gunpoint (as western media claims)? Then watch this. Listen to what people say, look at their happy smiling faces, feel the electrifying and triumphant atmosphere of the Hero City Sevastopol. Beautifully filmed by the Crimean film maker Sergey Strizhak on the very day of referendum when almost 97% of people voted for returning Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia.

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Angry residents in eastern Ukrainian village block government tanks

May 2 – Angry residents surround Ukrainian armored personnel carriers in a small village in the Donetsk region, urging forces not to advance and to disarm. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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Docu film: Ukrainian army meets separatists in Sloviansk /spring 2014

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E.Ukraine referendum: Report from Donetsk as landlslide supports self-rule

May 12, 2014

The results of referendums have been announced in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, showing the majority of voters support self-rule, amid an intensified military operation by Kiev which resulted in several deaths

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Civilians among the dead in besieged city of Slavyansk, Ukraine

The Ukrainian military renewed its crackdown on anti-government forces in the eastern city of Slavyansk. Battles between the military and anti-Kiev militias have reportedly resulted in the deaths of 10 locals and four soldiers, with civilians among the dead. RT’s Paula Slier reports from the encircled city on the deteriorating conditions.

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Ukraine: Grad rockets destroy Donetsk school and homes

A school and mine were left annihilated in the town of Mospino, 15 km (9 miles) south west of Donetsk, Thursday, after Ukrainian armed forces fired Grad rockets into the residential area. Many homes have also been left eradicated from the shelling, with residents being forced to abandon their former homes and move into basements. Mospino town is sandwiched between DPR strongholds of Donetsk and Ilovaysk, leaving it caught between the warring sides for a number of times within the last two weeks of August, 2014. It remains unclear why the town was targeted, despite being behind the lines of the DPR/DNR forces, because no troops or checkpoints are located in the vicinity.

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GRAPHIC: RT reporter in Donetsk, E. Ukraine after night of heavy shelling

The city of Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine, has been shelled for one month, hundreds of civilians have been killed. The following footage is from central Donetsk, where RT’s Paula Slier witnessed bloody aftermath of an overnight attack.

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Donetsk under heavy fire hours before truce talks

Kiev officials and anti-govt leaders will meet in Minsk later today to try and hammer out a ceasefire agreement for Eastern Ukraine. But so far, there’ve been no signs of violence letting up. Outskirts of Donetsk are being hit by deadly strikes just before peace talks begin.

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Thousands of Ukrainian refugees stream into Russia

Russia is continuing to take in refugees who are fleeing fighting in Ukraine’s volatile eastern region.The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said around 730,000 Ukrainians have left the country for Russia this year. On Tuesday night, 133 people reportedly arrived by train. One third of them were said to be children.

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Ukrainian agony – The concealed war (full English version by Mark Bartalmai)

ince mid-July 2014, our war correspondent team is still on site in the southeast of Ukraine – in the Donbass. We shot countless videos and scored over a thousand photos. The team of “Keep a close eye on by Mark Bartalmai” was the ONLY western and German team of journalists with the highest level of accreditation and therefore had access to many critical points in this civil war. Our materials are now being used in a documentary. We made this documentary film from over 3 terabytes video that were filmed in several months on site. It shows the different areas of the war in recounting episodes and individual stories – of civilians, soldiers and journalists. The focus is on the personal perspectives of each of the actors, supported by the recorded material, during and after the bombing of cities, battles and on people’s lives under war conditions in the middle of Europe. The documentary is not an action movie. Rather, it lives from spoken word, by the voices of the people of the interviews and their impressions. Accompanied with sequences of events it draws a picture of the personal feelings of the participants – whether civilians, soldiers and journalists. “Ukrainian Agony” is a silent film about the immense volume and violence of war. The propaganda has reached a new level of “quality”. Disinformation, concealment, half-truths up to outright lies are the “weapons” of certain Western media in this war – in an unprecedented degree.

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True story of Ukraine Civil War (from the people of Donbass)

n this video, The WIU-TUT channel gives a voice to the people of Donbass and tells you the truth about what is really going on in Ukraine. He will show you what the locals ACTUALLY think, what the soldiers are ACTUALLY fighting for, and how and why this conflict ACTUALLY started.

Episode 1 – Real reason bihind Donbass war, and how and why the war started
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4D1g…

Episode 2 – examening “evidence” of Russian agression
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPPHO…

Episode 3 – Victims of war
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWczu…

Ukraine-Russia War – looking for SMOKING GUN EVIDENCE of Russian weapons in Donbass!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQOFC…

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