Statement by the delegation of Ukraine during the consideration of the UN GA resolution "Report of the International Court of Justice"

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine during the consideration of the UN GA resolution "Report of the International Court of Justice"

Mr. President,

I would like to deliver this statement on behalf of the member of the Delegation of Ukraine H.E. Emine Dzhaparova, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

We are grateful for the ICJ President for comprehensive presentation of the report. It confirms that over the last 20 years the workload of the Court kept growing. The geographical spread and variety of subject-matters of cases are also quite illustrative, which underlines the importance and universality of this judicial organ.

Unfortunately, this anniversary GA session comes at a time of unprecedented crisis both of global health and human rights due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We see how difficult is to maintain the effective work of international organizations, especially as regards the necessity of ensuring the administration of justice.

Even though the Court is to be guided by tradition and precedent, we note that it is ready to face modern challenges. We commend the Court’s steps aimed at discharging its judicial functions during the pandemic, including the necessary arrangements made to hold virtual meetings.

ICJ decisions are of paramount significance for promoting the rule of law, contributing to developing and clarifying international law. We praise the Court’s efforts to ensure that its decisions are well understood and shared as widely as possible. At the same time, we would like to emphasize the necessity to convey the ICJ communications to the attention to the Security Council, directly entitled by the UN Charter to secure compliance with the ICJ decisions. This requirement is clearly defined by provisions of the UN Charter and the ICJ Statute, the Rules of the Court and the UNSC Provisional Rules of Procedure.

Mr. President,

There should be no doubt that provisional measures, which are ordered by the Court as a matter of urgency and for the purpose of safeguarding the rights of the parties, are binding for them. The practice of the ICJ is to reaffirm and emphasize in its orders on provisional measures, by reference to Article 41 of the Statute, so as to create international legal obligations for parties to whom the provisional measures are addressed. Unfortunately, not all states respect the Court’s orders and take real measures to implement them in good faith.

Following its occupation of Crimea, Russia launched a wide-ranging campaign of cultural erasure directed against the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian communities. It has engaged in the collective punishment of whole ethnic groups in Crimea.

People there continue to be unlawfully detained and are disappearing, culturally important gatherings are suppressed, education in the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian languages is restricted, and media outlets of these disfavored communities are harassed. This constitutes a massive violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.

I would like to recall the ICJ Order on provisional measures of 19 April 2017 in the case instituted by Ukraine against the Russian Federation on the interpretation and application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

In its decision, the Court obliged Russia, among other, to “refrain from maintaining or imposing limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to preserve its representative institutions, including the Mejlis”. More than three years have passed and it has become apparent that Russia does not consider that it must suspend its discriminatory ban on the Mejlis under the language of the ICJ’s Order.

The UN Secretary-General in his report submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 74/168 on the situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, highlighted that as 30 June 2020, notwithstanding the ICJ provisional Order, the activities of the Mejlis remained banned. Moreover, the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea keep announcing new criminal charges against key leaders of the Crimean Tatar community.

In the other part of the Order, ICJ decided to (and I quote) “ensure the availability of education in the Ukrainian language” (end of quote). And what do we have here?

The mentioned SG report stated that, in line with the previously reported trend, the 2019/20 academic year was marked by a further decline in the number of schoolchildren educated in the Ukrainian language in Crimea. The SG, therefore, underlined the need to ensure the availability of education in the Ukrainian language in Crimea.

This Order continues to be ignored despite its binding nature. The failure of the Russian Federation to comply with the Order is reflected in the General Assembly resolutions. Moreover, the General Assembly strongly condemned the continuing and total disregard by the Russian Federation for its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and international law regarding its legal responsibility for the occupied Ukrainian territory.

By ignoring the Order of the ICJ Russia continues violating a binding decision, revealing an unfortunate attitude to the Court, to the UN Charter and to international law. In this regard, we call upon the international community to insist that Russia abide by international law, including the binding rulings of the International Court of Justice.

Mr. President,

Today’s report highlights that the last year the ICJ decisively rejected Russia’s jurisdictional objections in the above-mentioned case of Ukraine against the Russian Federation. Now, the Russian Federation will have to explain to the whole world how it complied with its obligations under the Terrorism Financing Convention and the Racial Discrimination Convention.

The Court is making all efforts to serve justice without delay, including during the COVID-19. Unfortunately, Russia is using the pandemic even to justify the extension for the time-limit for the filing of its Counter-Memorial.

This shows the attitude and commitment of this state to the peaceful settlement of the disputes.

Similar behavior Russia demonstrated in February this year during the work of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization when blocking the adoption of its report by opposing the inclusion to it even reference to this case in the ICJ.

Mr. President,

Taking into consideration an ongoing deterioration of human rights in Crimea, Ukraine on this session is planning to submit for the consideration of the Third Committee and the General Assembly a revised draft resolution “Situation of human rights in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine”, based on the last year’s resolution and the recommendations of the Secretary General and OHCHR.

Ukraine will highly appreciate your valuable support and co-sponsorship of the updated document.

Thank you.