On April 19, the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered a ruling on Ukraine’s demands for measures against Russia regarding the application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
The court ruled without a vote that the claims made by Ukraine against Russia with regard to the convention on financing terrorism lack evidence and there is therefore no ground for interim measures.
The court also called on all parties to the dispute to implement in full the Minsk Agreements, recalling that these agreements were approved and signed by representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk in particular, a fact that Ukraine attempts to deny.
With regard to the convention on eliminating racial discrimination, the court did not support any of the interim measures Ukraine demanded and did not support Kiev’s claims that Russia is allegedly carrying out a policy of “erasing the cultural identity of the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities.” The court saw no reason for a number of Ukraine’s accusations, such as supposed ethnically motivated abductions, killings and detentions in Crimea, persecution of the media and public organisations, bans on Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars holding meetings and public events, or no access to education in the Crimean Tatar language.
The court supported three interim measures regarding the convention on the elimination of racial discrimination: A measure concerning access to education in the Ukrainian language; a measure on possibilities for Crimean Tatars to have their own representative institutions; and a third measure calling on both Ukraine and Russia to refrain from any action that could exacerbate the dispute.
It is important that the court has taken a principled stand and did not support Ukraine’s claims about supposed ‘aggression’ and ‘occupation’, and on the status of Crimea as a matter not relevant to the substance of the dispute.