UN Court of Justice: Russia must reinstate Mejlis in Crimea

The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine has received a letter from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stating that the ICJ has sent Russia a reminder of its obligation to restore the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, reported Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal.

The letter states that it is Russia’s obligation to comply with the court order, something which it has so far failed to do.

“Because it was obvious to us that Russia did not intend to revoke the discriminatory ban on the Mejlis’s activity, as directly stipulated by the ICJ order, on April 19 this year we asked the court to confirm that Russia is obligated to lift the ban on the Mejlis’s activity in accordance with the ICJ order from April 19, 2017 on the use of temporary measures,” Zerkal wrote on Facebook.

On April 19, 2017, the ICJ made an interim ruling on Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia. The judges were of the opinion that Ukraine’s evidence of Russia financing terrorism was inadequate, and so that part of the lawsuit was rejected in the interim measures.

The court also prescribed interim measures on another part of the lawsuit, the discrimination against ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars during the temporary occupation of Crimea. In particular, the court obligated Russia to authorize the Mejlis to operate and to provide access to education in the Ukrainian language in Crimea.

Both Russia and Ukraine are obligated to avoid violations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The court also asked the parties to do everything possible to eradicate the conflict in the Donbas in a peaceful manner.

According to Zerkal, in its correspondence with the court, “in the best traditions of Stalin’s Soviet Union”, Russia has attempted to convince everyone that the Crimean Tatars are doing fine under the occupation.

“With its letter, the court has granted our request, and directly drawn Russia’s attention to the fact that the order is mandatory and requires specific measures to be taken. Russia must take these measures and inform the court about them by January 19, 2019,” the deputy minister wrote.

Russia banned the Mejlis from operating in April 2016, calling its activity “extremist”. Since then, the Russian authorities in Crimea have begun to oppress the Crimean Tatars and members of the Mejlis.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE has adopted the Berlin Declaration, which included the Ukrainian resolution on human rights violations in Russian-occupied Crimea.

  Ukraine, Russia, Crimea, International Court of Justice, Mejlis