UKRAINE PROVES IN THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE THE FACT THAT RUSSIA maintains a policy OF CULTURAL ERASURE OF CRIMEAN TATARS – MFA 26.02.2020

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Ukraine tries to prove in the International Court of Justice that the Russian Federation maintains a policy of cultural erasure of ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea.

The statement was made by Oksana Zolotarova, the Director of the International Law Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, at the “Age of Crimea” forum dedicated to the Day of Crimea's Resistance to Russian Occupation, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

"At the International Court of Justice, we are trying to prove that the Russian Federation maintains (in the occupied Crimea) a policy of actual cultural erasure of ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, thereby violating the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination", - Zolotarova said.

She noted that international law was a very slow tool. In particular, the diplomat recalled that the first negotiations to settle the issue in the international court took place in 2015. Ukraine filed the application with the International Court of Justice in 2017 and received its first decision only last November.

Zolotarova reminded that the International Court of Justice rejected all of the Russian Federation's remarks on the jurisdiction, and now Russia must submit its Counter-Memorial by 8 December.

Zolotarova noted that this document would not be public. However, the Ukrainian party will share it on a confidential basis with Crimeans, who act as witnesses in this case, as soon as it receives it, in order to work together to refute the Russian Federation's accusations against Ukraine.

"We already understand that there will be fakes. Especially this will concern the Crimean Tatars and the Crimean Tatar Majlis. The Russian Federation now and always says that there are no human rights problems in Crimea, everything is fine there, and the representative bodies of the Crimean Tatar people operate. We will work on that and hope that the Majlis and civil society will help us", - she concluded.

As Ukrinform reported, on 8 November 2019, the International Court of Justice ruled that it had jurisdiction in the case of Russia's violation of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Court also emphasized that Ukraine had complied with all pre-trial procedures. This Order means that the International Court of Justice may proceed to the consideration of the case on the merits.

On 16 January 2017, Ukraine filed the application with the International Court of Justice against Russia for the violation of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The accusations made against Russia include the supplies of weapons and other assistance to illegal armed formations; downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17; shelling of residential areas of Mariupol and Kramatorsk; destruction of a civilian passenger bus near Volnovakha; bombing during a peaceful rally in Kharkiv; discrimination against Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities; banning activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people; series of disappearances, murders, unauthorized searches, detentions; restrictions on teaching Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages.