On 12 June 2018, Ukraine submitted its Memorial to the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) documenting serious violations of international law by the Russian Federation. The Memorial, accompanied by voluminous evidence, establishes that the Russian Federation has violated the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism ( “Terrorism Financing Convention”) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (“CERD”).
Ukraine’s Memorial catalogs Russia’s brazen and comprehensive assault on human rights and international law in the territory of Ukraine, and the tremendous toll these acts have taken on the Ukrainian people and the whole world.
In joining the Terrorism Financing Convention, the Russian Federation pledged to suppress the financing of terrorism, but in Ukraine it does the opposite. Illegal armed groups in Donbas have perpetrated horrific acts of terrorism against civilians using arms from the Russian Federation. And Russia has violated its international obligations by failing to prevent Russian officials and other Russian nationals from providing these weapons to known terrorist groups.
Just last month, on 24 May 2018, the Joint Investigation Team (“JIT”) examining the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, of which Ukrainian investigators and prosecutors played an important role, determined that the Buk missile system which downed the MH17 was transferred to illegal armed groups in the Donetsk region of Ukraine by the Russian Federation’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Military Brigade through the uncontrolled segment of the Ukrainian-Russian state border.
With this and other Russian support, these groups attacked MH17, taking nearly 300 innocent lives; unleashed deadly barrages of rocket fire on Ukrainian cities, including the assaults on a checkpoint near Volnovakha and residential neighborhoods in Kramatorsk, Mariupol, and Avdiivka; and planted bombs that have ripped through patriotic marches, popular nightclubs, and other peaceful locations.
The Russian Federation has likewise pledged to eradicate racial discrimination, but does the opposite in Ukraine. In Crimea, which Russia illegally occupies, Russia maintains a policy of racial discrimination and cultural erasure directed against those ethnic communities that dared to oppose its purported annexation. Russia has trampled the political, civil, and cultural rights of these communities, including through the ban on the Mejlis, the representative institution of the Crimean Tatar community; disappearing and murdering Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian activists; banning cultural gatherings and suppressing media outlets; and restricting opportunities for children to be educated in their native languages.
Ukraine initiated its case against Russia in the ICJ in January 2017. In April 2017, the ICJ issued provisional measures, ordering the Russian Federation to refrain from limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to conserve its representative institutions, including the Mejlis, ensure the availability of education in the Ukrainian language, and not to aggravate the dispute before the Court.
Ukraine in its Memorial demands that Russia cease its violations of the Terrorism Financing Convention and the CERD immediately and pay financial compensation to Ukraine for the harm suffered by Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as a result of Russia’s violations.