Russia can delay consideration of Ukraine's case in The Hague under UN Convention on Law of Sea - Zerkal
If Russia decides to challenge the jurisdiction of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in the case on the violation of Ukraine's sovereign rights in the Black and Azov Seas and the Kerch Strait under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the consideration of this issue can in fact begin not earlier than 2019, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister for European Integration Olena Zerkal has said.
"In general, there are over 400 pages, and 133 are just a descriptive part. Then there are maps, testimonies, and files - almost 500 files... Therefore, now the process of uploading this information to a special link in the permanent arbitration chamber in The Hague, where we have to post today our entire memorandum together with the files," Zerkal said on Ukraine's Channel 5 on Monday, February 19.
She specified that on February 19, Ukraine had to submit the relevant documents to the arbitration court.
According to her, in this memorandum, the Ukrainian side must determine all the articles in which it sees violations.
"In fact, this is now our claim, supplied with evidence, facts, testimony, expert opinions, and generally the position that was considered during various judicial reviews, including arbitration proceedings that ended last year and the year before, which concern the issues of the South China Sea, Mauritius, Arctic Sunrise... This is a very large document," Zerkal said.
According to her, now there are two options for the development of events: when the case is not divided and is considered in essence and under jurisdiction together - then Russia has nine months to prepare its memorandum, starting from February 19, 2018.
"There is another option - and we believe that this option will be applied - they can submit their objections within three months regarding the lack of jurisdiction of the tribunal to consider this case," she said, adding that this is a "more likely scenario."
"If they follow this probable scenario, then they [Russia] have three months to prepare objections - this is May 19. After that, Ukraine is given three months to prepare counterarguments on jurisdiction," Zerkal said.
Then, according to her, the parties exchange additional information, and the arbitration institution already determines the date when the hearing will take place, how long it will last, and after the hearing it determines how long time it takes to make a decision.
"So this is 2019. I understand that in 2019 we will reach some sort of result on jurisdiction if Russians chooses this way," she said.