MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russia said Wednesday that it won’t take part in an international tribunal over an arrested Greenpeace ship and its international crew.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement Wednesday dismissing the formal request submitted Monday by the Dutch government to the Germany-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
Moscow said it won’t get involved into the legal proceedings, which could see the Hamburg-based court order Russia to release the Arctic Sea icebreaker, which was sailing under the Dutch flag, and its 30 crew members, who have been charged with piracy after staging a protest at an offshore Arctic oil rig and are currently in custody in the northern Russian city of Murmansk.
“The Russian side has informed the Netherlands and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea that it doesn’t accept the arbitration procedure in the Arctic Sunrise case, and is not planning to take part in the tribunals,” the ministry said in a statement Wednesday, adding that Moscow is still “open to the settlement” of the case. The statement didn’t elaborate.
The ministry insisted that Russia is not obliged to recognize the authority of the maritime tribunal, saying that the Russian government does not have to participate in disputes that concern “sovereign rights” and “jurisdiction.”
The tribunal the Dutch have turned to adjudicates in disputes arising from interpretation and application of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
When Russia ratified the convention in 1997, it submitted an accompanying statement saying that the country would not accept procedures that led to the tribunal making binding decisions concerning national sovereignty, the ministry said.
Russian authorities detained the Greenpeace ship in mid-September and charged all 30 people on board with piracy after activists tried to scale an oil rig in the Arctic in protest against offshore drilling in the region. If found guilty, they face up to 15 years in prison.