UN court re­jects Ukraine re­quest to block rebel fund­ing

Truro Daily News - - WORLD -

The In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice on Wed­nes­day re­jected Ukraine’s re­quest for mea­sures aimed at block­ing Rus­sian sup­port for rebels in eastern Ukraine, say­ing Kyiv did not pro­vide enough ev­i­dence to back up its claim that Moscow spon­sored ter­ror­ism by fund­ing and arm­ing the rebels.

Ukraine had asked the court to or­der Rus­sia to shore up its border and pre­vent weapons, ve­hi­cles, peo­ple and money reach­ing the rebels while the case is heard in full, but the court re­fused.

How­ever, in an­other el­e­ment of Ukraine’s le­gal case against Rus­sia, the world court im­posed mea­sures to rein in dis­crim­i­na­tion by Moscow against eth­nic Tatars and other mi­nori­ties in Crimea.

At hear­ings last month, Ukraine ac­cused Rus­sia of spon­sor­ing ter­ror­ism by pro­vid­ing funds and weapons to rebels in Ukraine and of dis­crim­i­nat­ing against Tatars and oth­ers in Crimea. Rus­sia re­jects the al­le­ga­tions.

The court took Ukraine’s side on al­le­ga­tions of dis­crim­i­na­tion in Crimea.

In a 13-3 de­ci­sion by judges, the court said Rus­sia “must re­frain from main­tain­ing or im­pos­ing lim­i­ta­tions on the abil­ity of the Crimean Tatar com­mu­nity to con­serve its rep­re­sen­ta­tive in­sti­tu­tions.”

Rus­sia last year banned the Me­jlis of the Crimean Tatar Peo­ple, the self-gov­ern­ing leg­isla­tive body of the Crimean Tatars, call­ing it an ex­trem­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

On Wed­nes­day, the UN court’s judges also unan­i­mously or­dered Rus­sia “to en­sure the avail­abil­ity of ed­u­ca­tion in the Ukrainian lan­guage” in Crimea, the Black Sea penin­sula that Moscow an­nexed in March 2014, spark­ing in­ter­na­tional out­rage. A sep­a­ratist in­sur­gency erupted in eastern Ukraine the fol­low­ing month, backed by Rus­sia.

The case in The Hague, which also seeks repa­ra­tions for the 2014 down­ing of Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, adds a le­gal front to the bit­ter, drawn-out con­flict.

The UN court said it ex­pects Moscow and Kyiv to work to im­ple­ment the Minsk agree­ments that were de­signed to bring peace to con­flict-rav­aged eastern Ukraine.

Wed­nes­day’s rul­ing is a pre­lim­i­nary de­ci­sion aimed at pre­serv­ing the rights Ukraine claims Rus­sia is breach­ing while the full case makes its way through the court, a process likely to take years.

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