Ukraine files 'terrorism' case against Russia
January 17 2017 05:23 PM
UN top court
UN top court

AFP/The Hague

Ukraine has filed a case at the UN's top court accusing Russia of sponsoring ‘terrorism’ and demanding Moscow pay damages for the shelling of civilians and the downing of flight MH17, officials said Tuesday.

Kiev has asked the International Court of Justice to ‘declare that the Russian Federation bears international responsibility, by virtue of its sponsorship of terrorism ... for the acts of terrorism committed by its proxies in Ukraine,’ the court said in a statement.

Ukraine also asked the court to order ‘full reparation’ for the 2014 downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine and ‘for the shelling of civilians’ in certain towns in eastern Ukraine.

‘Russia must pay its price for the aggression,’ Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Monday just after Kiev launched the proceedings with the court based in The Hague.

- 'Violating international law' -

‘The Russian Federation has been brutally violating international law for three years,’ he added in a statement.

‘For three years, Russia has been committing the illegal annexation of Crimea, illegal occupation of the east of our country in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, implementing the policy of elimination and discrimination in Crimea.’

The International Court of Justice, the UN's highest court, was founded in 1945 to rule on border and territorial disputes between nations.

Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, accuses its neighbour Russia of triggering unrest by separatist pro-Russian rebels in retaliation for the ousting of Kiev's Moscow-backed president in February 2014.

Fierce fighting flared in eastern Ukraine and Russia annexed Ukraine's southern peninsula of Crimea in March 2014.

There had been hopes the war was winding down after nearly the deaths of nearly 10,000 people after several ceasefire accords.

Poroshenko said the filing of the case at the ICJ had resulted from ‘a long and meticulous work.’

Kiev has asked the tribunal to declare that Moscow has violated its obligations under the Terrorism Financing Convention and an international treaty against racial discrimination.

It urges the tribunal to order Moscow to ‘immediately and unconditionally cease and desist from all support, including the provision of money, weapons, and training, to illegal armed groups that engage in acts of terrorism in Ukraine.’

It also asks that Moscow be ordered:

- to ensure that illegal arms are withdrawn from eastern Ukraine

- to control its borders to stop acts of ‘financing of terrorism including the supply of weapons’

- to ‘make full reparation’ for the shelling of civilians in the eastern Ukrainian towns of Mariupol, Kramatorsk, Volnovakha and Kharkiv, as well as for the shooting down of MH17.

- to protect the rights of ‘all groups in Russian-occupied Crimea, including Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians.’

A Dutch-led international investigation found that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made missile in July 2014 over eastern Ukraine, launched from a field in rebel-held territory.

All 298 on board the routine flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, mostly Dutch citizens, were killed.

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