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International Legal Dimensions of the Russian Occupation of Crimea

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The Use of Force against Ukraine and International Law

Abstract

This chapter analyses the main violations of public international law in the territory of Ukraine as a result of the military occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. The following study encompasses an evaluation of the human rights violations in Crimea and the establishment of a Russian regime on the peninsula, while drawing attention to repressions against some parts of the local population, such as the Crimean Tatars. An important focus is placed on the international legal status of the territory despite the fact that the Russian Government de facto controls Crimea politically and economically. There are numerous international legal acts that have already confirmed that Russia’s actions in Crimea constitute military aggression, as well as declared the Crimean Peninsula as an integral part of the territory of Ukraine. Furthermore, this paper briefly analyses the legal mechanisms of responsibility currently in place, which could be used to punish perpetrators for violations of international treaties committed by the aggressor state.

Evhen Tsybulenko, Department of Law, School of Business and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia, email: evhen.tsybulenko@ttu.ee.

Bogdan Kelichavyi, email: bogdan.kelichavyi@gmail.com.

This article contains material previously published by the authors in Tsybulenko and Kelichavyi 2016, ‘Crimea under Russian occupation’, Juridical Journal, Vol. 168, pp. 58–68.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Constitution of Ukraine, Article 133.

  2. 2.

    Voronko 2011, pp. 28–33.

  3. 3.

    Tsentr Razumkova 2011, p. 27.

  4. 4.

    Official website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine 2014.

  5. 5.

    Ibid.

  6. 6.

    UN Audiovisual Library of International Law, Definition of Aggression, General Assembly Resolution 3314 (XXIX), 14 December 1974.

  7. 7.

    BBC News, ‘Putin reveals secrets of Russia’s Crimea takeover plot’, 9 March 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31796226. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  8. 8.

    OSCE Plenary Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine 2014.

  9. 9.

    UN 68th General Assembly Meeting Coverage 2014.

  10. 10.

    UN General Assembly 2014, Resolution 68/262.

  11. 11.

    Sayapin 2015.

  12. 12.

    PACE 2014, Resolution 1990.

  13. 13.

    OSCE Resolution on the Continuation of Clear, Gross and Uncorrected Violations of OSCE Commitments and International Norms by the Russian Federation 2016.

  14. 14.

    Ibid.

  15. 15.

    NATO Warsaw Summit Communiqué 2016.

  16. 16.

    PACE 2016, Resolution 2133.

  17. 17.

    PACE 2016, Resolution 2132.

  18. 18.

    UN 2016, Resolution No. A/C.3/71/L.26.

  19. 19.

    Official website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine 2014.

  20. 20.

    TSN 2014, ‘Ukrainian warrant was killed during the storming of a military unit in Simferopol’. http://tsn.ua/politika/ukrayinskiy-oficer-zaginuv-pid-chas-shturmu-viyskovoyi-chastini-u-simferopoli-340502.html. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  21. 21.

    Law of the Republic of Crimea of 8 August 2014, No. 47.

  22. 22.

    Law of the Republic of Crimea of 12 June 2014, No. 22-ZRK.

  23. 23.

    Gorbunova 2014, pp. 328–40.

  24. 24.

    Federal Law of the Russian Federation of 5 May 2014, No. 91-FZ.

  25. 25.

    LB.ua 2015, ‘Ukrtelecom stopped working in Crimea – communication on the peninsula completely disabled’. http://ukr.lb.ua/news/2015/02/10/295007_ukrtelekom_pripiniv_robotu_krimu.html. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  26. 26.

    International Committee of the Red Cross 1907, Convention (IV).

  27. 27.

    Law of the Republic of Crimea of 10 August 2014, No. 47-ZRK.

  28. 28.

    MacFarquhar 2015.

  29. 29.

    Federal Law of the Russian Federation of 4 June 2014, No. 142-FZ.

  30. 30.

    Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, Article 330.2 N 63-FZ.

  31. 31.

    Federal Law of Russian Federation of 13 July 2015, No. 258-FZ.

  32. 32.

    Federal Law of Russian Federation of 4 October 2014, No. 292-FZ.

  33. 33.

    CrimeaSOS, ‘Human rights in Crimea’. http://crimeamap.krymsos.com/eng/list.html. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  34. 34.

    TSN.ua 2016, ‘The Foreign Ministry confirmed the official number of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and occupied Crimea’. http://tsn.ua/ukrayina/u-mzs-nazvali-oficiynu-kilkist-politv-yazniv-ukrayinciv-u-rosiyi-ta-okupovanomu-krimu-617789.html. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  35. 35.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, ‘Ukrainians illegally detained in Russia and in the occupied Crimea’. http://mfa.gov.ua/en/page/open/id/4177. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  36. 36.

    Bakalchuk 2007, pp. 69–75.

  37. 37.

    Uehling 2004, p. 91.

  38. 38.

    Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People 2015.

  39. 39.

    Human Rights Watch 2014, ‘Crimea: disappeared man found killed’. www.hrw.org/news/2014/03/18/crimea-disappeared-man-found-killed. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  40. 40.

    Crimean News Agency 2014, ‘18 Crimean Tatar already missing in Crimea: Jemilev’. http://qha.com.ua/en/politics/18-crimean-tatar-already-missing-in-crimea-jemilev/132375/. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  41. 41.

    Liha.Biznes.Inform 2015, ‘During the year of occupation in Crimea, up to 10 Crimean Tatars killed – Chubarov’. http://news.liga.net/news/politics/5150484-za_god_okkupatsii_v_krymu_Ubili_do_10_krymskikh_tatar_chubarov.htm. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  42. 42.

    National Institute for Strategic Studies Under the President of Ukraine 2015.

  43. 43.

    Krym.Realii 2015, ‘10,00 Crimean Tatars left Crimea – Jemilev’. http://ua.krymr.com/content/news/27165502.html. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  44. 44.

    Ukrainski Novyny 2015, ‘35,000 internally displaced persons from Crimea – Jemilev’. http://ukranews.com/news/192922.Krim-pokinulo-35-tis-vinuzhdennih-pereselentsev---Dzhemilev.ru. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  45. 45.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine 2016, Statement on the Decision of the Illegal Judicial Authority of the Occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea to Ban the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People. http://mfa.gov.ua/en/press-center/news/46887-zajava-mzs-ukrajini-u-zvjazku-z-nezakonnoju-zaboronoju-okupacijnoju-vladoju-v-avtonomnij-respublici-krim-medzhlisu-krimsykotatarsykogo-narodu. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  46. 46.

    Nechepurenko 2016.

  47. 47.

    Amnesty International 2016, Annual Report: Ukraine 2015/2016.

  48. 48.

    Yost 2015.

  49. 49.

    OSCE 1994, Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances.

  50. 50.

    Budjeryn 2014.

  51. 51.

    ECHR 2014, Ukraine v. Russia, Application No. 20958/14.

  52. 52.

    ECHR 2015, 296.

  53. 53.

    Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation 2015.

  54. 54.

    Antonovych et al. 2014, p. 286.

  55. 55.

    PACE 2015, Resolution 2034.

  56. 56.

    NATO Review 2015, ‘Sanctions after Crimea: have they worked?’. http://www.nato.int/docu/Review/2015/Russia/sanctions-after-crimea-have-they-worked/EN/index.htm. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  57. 57.

    Rome Statute of the ICC 2002.

  58. 58.

    Coalition for the ICC 2006, ‘Overview of the United States’ opposition to the International Criminal Court’. http://www.iccnow.org/documents/CICCFS_US_Opposition_to_ICC_11Dec06_final.pdf. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  59. 59.

    Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the Ukraine Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

  60. 60.

    International Criminal Court, Preliminary Examinations List. https://www.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/icc/structure%20of%20the%20court/office%20of%20the%20prosecutor/comm%20and%20ref/Pages/communications%20and%20referrals.aspx. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  61. 61.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine 2016, Statement on the Initiation of Arbitration Against the Russian Federation Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. http://mfa.gov.ua/en/press-center/comments/6313-statement-of-the-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-of-ukraine-on-the-initiation-of-arbitration-against-the-russian-federation-under-the-united-nations-convention-on-the-law-of-the-sea. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  62. 62.

    Ukrainska Pravda 2017, ‘Arbitration hearings about a violation of RF Convention on Marine Law will begin 12 May’. http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2017/03/11/7137849/. Accessed 13 May 2017.

  63. 63.

    UNIAN 2016, ‘Ukraine plans to sue against Russia to the International Court of Justice’. http://www.unian.info/politics/1229978-ukraine-to-lodge-claim-against-russia-with-international-court-of-justice.html. Accessed 27 February 2017.

  64. 64.

    International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism 1999.

  65. 65.

    International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1965.

  66. 66.

    ICJ 2017, 2017/4.

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Tsybulenko, E., Kelichavyi, B. (2018). International Legal Dimensions of the Russian Occupation of Crimea. In: Sayapin, S., Tsybulenko, E. (eds) The Use of Force against Ukraine and International Law. T.M.C. Asser Press, The Hague. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6265-222-4_13

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