Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNGA Sixth Committee meeting on the rule of law at the national and international levels

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNGA Sixth Committee meeting on the rule of law at the national and international levels

Mr. Chairman,

Ukraine aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union, and I would like to make a number of comments in its national capacity.

We welcome the report of the Secretary-General on strengthening and coordinating United Nations rule of law activities, which highlights the United Nations’ continued support to Member States on all continents to develop national capacities to strengthen the rule of law.

Rule of law reforms were declared a priority by Ukraine since 2014 and are essential for the much-needed improvement of the investment climate and the stimulation of economic growth in the country. Rule of law development is a key of Ukrainian judicial, police, decentralization, public administration, economic, financial and anti-corruption reforms.

A palpable progress was made in fight against corruption with the creation of the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court and other independent anti-corruption institutions, improving system of electronic declarations and electronic government procurements, conducting banking sectors reforms. We are grateful to the United Nations for its continuing support to implement anti-corruption reforms, a recent example of which was a transfer of the software aimed to automatically verify e-declarations to the National Agency on Corruption Prevention in Ukraine.

Mr. Chairman,

The rule of law is one of the main tools at international level to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to advance the protection of human rights. Ukraine is committed to the peaceful settlement of any international disputes, including to resolve the situation that arose as the result of the Russian military aggression.

We initiated several legal cases against the Russian Federation in international courts. On some of them we have already achieved important results. In particular, in the beginning of 2017 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) obliged Russia to “refrain from maintaining or imposing limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to conserve its representative institutions, including the Mejlis.”

However, this country continues to ignore the Order. In letters to the Parties, the Court has reaffirmed the binding nature of its Order and directed Russia to report on concrete steps taken to implement it by 18 January 2019. We call upon the Russian Federation to live up to its international obligations by promptly suspending its ban on the Mejlis.

The downing of MH17 in 2014 and the role of the Russian Federation in this tragedy is another important element of our case in the ICJ.

It has already been established that the missile system “Buk”, which shot down the MH17, belonged to the 53-rd Air Defense Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces. It was illegally delivered to the territory of Ukraine through the uncontrolled part of the Ukrainian-Russian state border and returned back to Russia after the downing of the aircraft. Such actions are not only criminally punishable, but also constitute violation of international law.

We will continue to provide all possible assistance in this important case and will cooperate with our partners for the sake of the establishment of justice and call on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability.

We know that following the legal path is a lengthy process, but we are confident that at the end we will achieve justice.

The international community repeatedly calls Russia to acknowledge its responsibility and change its destructive behavior in Ukraine, including through the United Nations system. In its resolutions 71/205 and 72/190 the General Assembly urged the Russian Federation to uphold all of its obligations under applicable international law as an occupying Power in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, and to fully and immediately comply with the mentioned Order of the International Court of Justice.

Control over the Sea of Azov is a current Russian target, after the temporary occupation of Crimea. Having illegally constructed a bridge across the Kerch Strait, Russia launched a systematic disruption of freedom of international navigation through the Kerch Strait for Ukrainian and foreign ships. Such brutal actions must be rejected as illegal, including under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Mr. Chairman,

We fully agree with the Secretary-General that proper implementation of the international treaties is a cornerstone of global system of harmonizing international relations. No matter how many participants are in the treaty, all obligations taken should be respected. Yet, it is not a case for the Russian Federation when we deal with the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership Between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

The Russian Federation has ignored the fundamental principles of the Treaty, including threatening and then violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine, committing armed aggression against Ukraine and applying military and economic pressure to interfere in internal affairs of Ukraine, thus infringing both the principle of sovereign equality and the rights of Ukrainian citizens.

In such circumstances and in the absence of good faith towards peaceful settlement of disputes concerning Russia’s numerous and significant breaches of the Treaty, the extension of the Treaty by Ukraine for the next decade is fundamentally impossible. The detailed information regarding this Treaty will be circulated as an official document of the General Assembly and the Security Council upon request of my delegation.

Mr. Chairman,

It is difficult to imagine sustainable peace and security without rule of law, without just and inclusive societies where people have equal rights and access to justice, without accountability, and, what is more important, without common understanding at the level of this Organization that urgent steps should be taken to stop violence and aggression, insecurity and injustice.

Thank you.