The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for the European Integration, Olena Zerkal, stated that the International Tribunal on maritime law that will study issues related to the Crimea is expected to begin its work in the summer of 2017.
“We have completed all the necessary pre-trial procedures. The fact that Russia agreed to create arbitration and tribunal, and to participate in the selection of arbitrators – all this give us hope for a more serious approach to its decision. We expect that the arbitration will begin to work in mid-2017. Also, the International Tribunal is expected to issue its decision in 2019-2021,” Zerkal stated in her interview with Ukrayinska Pravda.
The Deputy Minister explained that, “the best scenario is that a decision is issued in 2019 and the worst that it is issued in the middle of 2021.” Olena Zerkal noted that the Tribunal will not consider the issue of the annexation of the Crimea by Russia.
Significantly, Zerkal said that “the International Tribunal will neither consider the possession of the Crimea nor the demarcation of borders. The Crimea is perceived as an occupied territory to the entire world, and that is a fact. That is to say, that the issue of reconsideration of our maritime borders will not be raised as well.”
According to her, the subject of the dispute is the violation of Ukraine’s rights as a coastal state relating to the issue of rights for natural resources, archaeological heritage and the protection of the marine environment.
“It is an issue of illegal construction and the absence of opportunity for implementation of navigation – all rights, which were provided to Ukraine by the corresponding convention adopted within the United Nations,” the Deputy Minister said.
“The Tribunal will consider a claim filed by Ukraine due to its inability to use own natural resources, inability to protect the Black Sea environment, inability to navigate along the Kerch Strait, for the authorized excavation of archaeological treasures near the Crimea as well as for the violation of technical regulations during the construction of the Kerch bridge and other crossovers, and therefore disruption of ecological balance in the Black Sea,” Olena Zerkal added.
According to the Deputy Minister, Ukraine insists on the restitution of its rights that is the restoration of its right to use the marine coastal zone that belongs to Ukraine under the relevant convention.