The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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Greenpeace International Statement in Response to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea Hearing


Following a hearing at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), where the Netherlands brought a case seeking the release of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and its crew, Greenpeace International General Counsel Jasper Teulings said:

"The Dutch government argued its case extremely strongly. The Netherlands is taking a strong stance in support of the rule of law and the right to peacefully protest. Greenpeace International applauds the Dutch decision as flag state of the Arctic Sunrise in taking the necessary legal steps to gain the release of the ship and the Arctic 30.

"Greenpeace International is confident that the Tribunal will take appropriate account of the fundamental rights of the Arctic 30, and the impact of their detention on those rights, in reaching its eventual decision."

The Russian Federation did not attend today's hearing and the sitting was closed following the presentation of the Dutch government's oral argumentation. The Netherlands will now lodge written answers to the Tribunal's questions by the end of Thursday November 7. The presiding judge set a tentative date of Friday November 22 for the Tribunal's provisional order.

In response to Russia's non-appearance at the Tribunal, Joris Thijssen, campaign director at Greenpeace Netherlands, said:

"The decision of the Russian Federation not to attend the hearing is a departure from its previous respectful engagement with the Tribunal. Russia is not formally obliged to participate in the hearing. However it is under an obligation to comply with any ruling which the Tribunal may make.

"Greenpeace International hopes that Russia will respect UNCLOS and the rulings of the court. Greenpeace International also thinks that from everyone's perspective ITLOS is the correct place to resolve the issue."

ITLOS is an independent judicial body located in Hamburg, Germany, established to resolve disputes about the interpretation and application of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Attending the hearing, Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said:

"As things stand the Russian authorities propose to jail 30 men and women for two decades because a couple of peaceful protesters tried to hang a small yellow banner from the side of a five hundred thousand tonne oil platform. In our view, there's every prospect the tribunal will order the release of the Arctic 30, pending the arbitration case that the Netherlands has filed against Russia."

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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