KUALA LUMPUR – The downing of MH17 has been included as part of the proceedings instituted by Ukraine in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague in the Netherlands, to hold Russia accountable for acts of terrorism and discrimination in the course of unlawful aggression against Ukraine.
Ukraine Ambassador to Malaysia, Olexander Nechytaylo, said in the case filed on Jan 16, Ukraine claimed the Russian Federation was violating the Terrorism Financing Convention by supplying weapons and other forms of assistance to illegal armed groups operating in Ukrainian territory.
“These groups have committed acts of terrorism in Ukraine with weapons supplied by Russia, including the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17,” the ambassador said in a statement to Bernama here.
The Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 on board.
The case has been filed under the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Both states are parties to these conventions.
Other acts of terrorism included the bombardment of residential areas in Mariupol and Kramatorsk, the destruction of a civilian passenger bus near Volnovakha, and the deadly bombing of a peaceful gathering in Kharkiv, noted the statement.
In addition, Ukraine alleged the Russian Federation was violating the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by engaging in a campaign of discrimination against non-Russian communities living in the occupied Crimean Peninsula, including in particular, the ethnic Ukrainian and Muslim Tatar communities.
It claimed that beginning with an illegal referendum carried out in an atmosphere of intimidation, Russian occupation authorities had implemented a policy of cultural erasure against these communities.
This pattern of discrimination had been condemned by the United Nations General Assembly, it said.
The statement from the embassy also quoted Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister Pavlo Klimkin as saying that Ukraine was resorting to the ICJ as it had tried to resolve the disputes through negotiations as required by the conventions for more than two years, but the Russian Federation has been unwilling to cease its violations of international law.
“Therefore, we have filed our case to hold the Russian Federation accountable for these violations, and to vindicate the fundamental rights of the Ukrainian people under these treaties, to which the Russian Federation is a signatory,” the foreign minister was quoted as saying.
Ukraine has requested the ICJ to impose provisional measures to prevent Russia from compounding its human rights abuses while the case was pending, the embassy statement said.
Regarding the downing of MH17, the ambassador noted that Russia had used its veto at the United Nations in July 2015 to block a draft resolution to set up an international tribunal into the MH17 air disaster.
It was the only nation at the 15-member UN Security Council to oppose the move, triggering widespread condemnation, reports said.
However in this case, Russia was bound to appear before the ICJ as it was signatory to the two conventions, the ambassador told Bernama when met on the sidelines of the Extraordinary Session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers on the situation of the Rohingya Muslim Minority in Myanmar here.