This week’s ruling of the International Court of Justice on Ukraine's submissions against Russia is a significant step forward in holding the Kremlin to account for its international criminal behaviour and a real body blow to Russia's international standing and credibility as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Some commentators have cast doubts regarding our insistence to use the term terrorism as hurting Ukraine's cause. We stand by our use of the term even if it has the effect of making the bar of 'proof' that we need to clear so much higher.
We are very happy that the ICJ has upheld our case against Russia for violation of human rights, which the court has now ordered Russia to cease. We also welcome the clear directive that Russia must reverse its policy of racial discrimination, in particular against the ethnic Tatars and Ukrainians. Our government has campaigned tirelessly to protect the rights of these groups on the Crimean peninsula for the last three years.
We note that our submissions under the 'Terrorism Financing Convention' have not been upheld. We do however fully respect the judgment of the court at this point in time and accept that the bar for evidence in this case has been set particularly high. In order for any judgement to have sufficient credibility and to enjoy international support, we accept that the bar must be high.
While we accept that we have not yet been able to provide sufficient evidence to prove intent on behalf of Russia to cause civilian deaths, we note that the provision of Russian support for the militants is not at issue.
I personally believe that if someone illegally supplies regular troops, weaponry and mercenaries he should be aware that it could hit civilians directly or through acts of terrorism.
We will now redouble our efforts to gather evidence 'sufficient to convict' that we will place before the ICJ in due course. We have only been encouraged by this latest outcome in our determination to see Russia held fully to account for its international crimes committed on sovereign Ukrainian soil over the past three years.
This is the first time that the Court has dealt with the issue of state-financed terrorism. We are pleased that it has been established that ICJ 'does' have jurisdiction in this area. The Court’s judgement on the issue will save the lives of many civilians, not only in Ukraine today, but all over the world for decades to come.