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UN Court Rejects Key Part of Ukraine’s Case against Moscow

But ICJ orders Russia to stop discriminating against the Tatars in Crimea.

20 April 2017

Ukraine has won a small victory while suffering a larger setback in its cases against Russia at the UN’s highest court.


The International Court of Justice yesterday rejected Ukraine’s demand that Russia stop supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine.


The court in The Hague last month began considering Ukraine’s request to order Russia to stop backing pro-Moscow rebels on the grounds that it violated a treaty on financing terrorism, Reuters reports.


The court said there was not enough evidence to support Ukraine’s claim that Russia knew or intended that its financial support would be used to commit terrorist acts on Ukrainian soil.


Ukraine cited alleged Russian-backed bombardments of residential areas and the downing of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine in 2014 in which all 298 passengers and crew died, RFE/RL reports.



Kyiv can take satisfaction from the fact the court ordered Russia to stop discrimination against ethnic Tatars in the Crimea region it seized in 2014.


"The Court finds that Russia must refrain from imposing limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to conserve its representative institutions […] and ensure the availability of education in the Ukrainian language," an ICJ statement issued after the ruling said.


Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal said the rulings indicated the judges think the court has jurisdiction over both cases.


"For us, this decision of the court is a positive one. … We proved our position and we see that we have a very good perspective for the hearings on merits and we are going to actually put forward all our intentions," RFE quotes her as saying.


Russian delegates did not immediately comment on the rulings.



  • Last month Russian representatives argued the ICJ lacked jurisdiction over Ukraine’s complaint. Russia has repeatedly denied offering military support to separatists in the eastern Donbas region during their three-year conflict with government forces.


  • The issue of the ICJ’s jurisdiction in Ukraine’s allegation that Russia has funded terrorism will be considered as more arguments from both sides are heard. The proceedings could last for years, Reuters says.


  • The ICJ’s decisions are final and cannot be appealed. However, the court does not have enforcement mechanisms.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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