Hamburg, 22 November 2013 – The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea today ordered the Russian Federation in a binding ruling to release the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and the 28 activists and two freelance journalists on board upon payment of a EUR 3.6 million bond.
In response, Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said:
"Today is a historic day - a day when the fundamental rights of the Arctic 30 have been upheld by an international court of law. These 30 men and women were detained only because they stood up and courageously took peaceful action against Arctic oil drilling and to halt the devastating impacts of climate change. “Now that the Tribunal has ordered their release, I would remind you that President Putin recently said in a letter to the American people: ‘The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not.’
“Greenpeace would not disagree. The law is the law and this ruling goes a long way towards rectifying the great injustice against the Arctic 30 and we welcome it with open hearts. Twenty-nine have now been granted bail by Russian courts, but this is not enough. This Tribunal has clearly stated that all 30 should be free to leave Russia until the arbitral proceedings have been concluded.
“I have just come from the UN climate talks in Warsaw where governments again have failed to take action against climate change. The Arctic 30 took action and it is time that governments acted with them. It is time for the Arctic 30 to come home to their loved ones. It is time for the Arctic to be protected. Thirty people stood up for 7 billion people. We must stand with them.”
Russia is now under an obligation to comply with the order: the Russian Constitution itself states that international law forms an integral part of the Russian legal system and Russian courts are under an obligation to implement the order.
Greenpeace therefore expects Russia to respect UNCLOS and the Tribunal, as it has done in the past.
Jasper Teulings, General Counsel at Greenpeace International, said: "In lodging this lawsuit, the Dutch government took a strong stance in support of the rule of law and the right to peaceful protest and for that we are grateful. Greenpeace is also a great believer in international law - after all one of the primary objectives of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is to protect the marine environment.
“We thank the Tribunal and the Dutch government for bringing the freedom of our friends in Russia a significant step closer. Given that Russia is traditionally a strong defender of the importance of adhering to international law and of the UNCLOS regime, we at Greenpeace assume the Russian Federation will comply with the order.”
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