13:36 16.10.2019

Interrogations of sailors in Kerch Strait case may damage Ukrainian position in Hamburg Tribunal – lawyer

2 min read
Interrogations of sailors in Kerch Strait case may damage Ukrainian position in Hamburg Tribunal – lawyer

KYIV. Oct 16 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Interrogations of Ukrainian sailors as part of the investigation of the State Bureau of Investigations of the case on the transfer of ships in the Kerch Strait may negatively affect the consideration of the lawsuit of Ukraine against the Russian Federation in the Hamburg Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, said lawyer Ilya Novikov.

"I'll express my personal opinion ... I'm surprised that the interrogations [of the seamen], which are carried out by the investigating authorities here in Ukraine, are moving in the same direction as the Russian investigation was moving," Novikov said a press conference at the Interfax -Ukraine on Wednesday.

He recalled that they and his colleagues had long insisted that the persecution of Ukrainian sailors had no reason, and that Ukrainian ships had the right to be there and did not carry out provocations.

"If the Ukrainian investigating authorities believe that the provocation was carried out by military men, and the article on which the proceedings were opened provides for the responsibility of the military, it may turn out that the Ukrainian investigating authorities agree with the Russian authorities that there was a provocation," the lawyer emphasized.

In this context, he expressed the view that this could have negative consequences for Ukraine. "I don't know how this will affect the validity of the Ukrainian position in the Hamburg Tribunal, which has not yet made a final decision. Probably, it will negatively affect ... It's close to the fact that Ukraine can win at the international tribunal, but such actions can lead to the Ukrainian complaint against Russia will not be satisfied," Novikov said.

The lawyer believes that it would be advisable for the SBI and the Foreign Ministry to communicate with each other in this matter in order to have a unified position.

Earlier, Director of the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) Roman Truba announced the intention of the Bureau to obtain the testimonies of all sailors as part of a criminal investigation regarding the possible commission of a criminal offense by officials during the passage of naval ships through the Kerch Strait in November 2018.

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