In response to news that the Dutch government has today submitted written arguments to the arbitral tribunal which is hearing the Arctic Sunrise case, Greenpeace International legal counsel Daniel Simons said:
“The Arctic 30 may have been freed but they have still not seen justice; they were granted amnesty for a crime they did not commit. We hope the arbitral tribunal will find that the Russian authorities breached international law when they seized the ship and the Arctic 30, and that the Russian Federation will be obligated to make reparations for damages caused.”
“Although Greenpeace is not a party in this case, which is between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Russian Federation, we urge the Russian government to engage with the arbitration and we urge both sides to comply with the ruling.”
Russian special forces illegally boarded the Arctic Sunrise in international waters on September 19, 2013 after a peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling at Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Pechora Sea. The ship and the Arctic 30 were then brought to Murmansk and charged with piracy, which was later changed to hooliganism. After spending more than two months in a Russian jail, the Arctic 30 were released in December following the adoption of an amnesty decree by the Duma, the Russian parliament. The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise remained under arrest until June 6, before finally being able to return to Amsterdam on August 9, 2014.
On October 4, 2013, the Netherlands launched an arbitral case under Annex VII to the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea against Russia. On 21 October, pending the appointment of the arbitrators who will hear the case, the Netherlands applied to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) for Provisional Measures. ITLOS ordered the immediate release of the Arctic Sunrise and the Arctic 30 upon the posting of a bond by the Netherlands. Russia did not comply with this order. The case is now being heard by five arbitrators who have invited arguments from both parties.