THE HAGUE, June 8 (AP) – Russia on Thursday urged judges at the United Nations’ top court to dismiss Ukraine’s lawsuit against Moscow over its 2014 annexation of Crimea and arming of rebels in eastern Ukraine. Massive invasion in February 2022.
“We appear before you today to demonstrate that Ukraine’s application must be dismissed because it has no legal basis. It also has no factual evidence to support it,” Alexander Shulkin, Russia’s ambassador to the Netherlands, told judges at the ICJ.
Ukrainian lawyers say Russia has funded a “campaign of intimidation and terror” by rebels in eastern Ukraine starting in 2014 and has sought to replace Crimea’s multi-nationalism with “discriminatory Russian nationalism,” Ukrainian lawyers said, with hearings opening Tuesday in the case. ethnic community.
Ukraine filed a lawsuit in 2017 asking the World Court to order Moscow to pay for attacks and crimes such as the July 17, 2014, shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by a Russian missile fired from territory held by rebels backed by Moscow, killing all 298. passengers and crew.
The Ukrainian government claims Russia has violated two treaties: the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Referring to the allegations of financing terrorism, Michael S Winston, a British lawyer representing Russia, said Ukraine’s legal team had failed to demonstrate that the actions of pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine could be considered terrorism.
“A terrorist who deliberately targets civilians must be distinguished from a soldier who foresees that civilians will be killed as collateral damage when attacking a military target,” Swinston said. The former is a war crime, while the latter represents a legal act. Of course, soldiers make mistakes too. “
He also questioned whether the downing of MH17 could be considered an act of terrorism and sought to undermine the findings of a Dutch court that last year sentenced two Russians and a pro-Moscow Ukrainian for their involvement in the downing of the Amsterdam-Kuala flight. guilty of multiple murders. Kuala Lumpur flight.
After months of hearings and years of international investigations, The Hague District Court ruled that the Boeing 777 was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile system that was brought into Ukraine from a Russian military base and returned to the base.
“No Russian goats. No Buk from Russia. No Buk crew from Russia,” Swinston said, calling the evidence the Dutch court relied on in its judgment “unsourced numerical nonsense.”
Kirill Udovichenko, another member of Russia’s legal team, told the court it was “indisputable” that the conflict in Ukraine had “taken civilian lives”. However, none of these tragic events constitutes terrorism or the justification for the financing of terrorism”, as defined in the Convention.
The judge will take several months to rule on the case after hearings scheduled to end next week. The court’s decision is final and legally binding. (Associated Press)
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