GREENPEACE WELCOMES DUTCH GOVERNMENT REQUEST TO TRIBUNAL

     (The following press release from Greenpeace was received by e-mail. The 
sender verified the statement.) 
*Netherlands pushes demand to release the Arctic 30 and ship – 
Greenpeace International welcomes move* 
21 October 2013 (Amsterdam) — The Dutch government has lodged a rare 
application at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea 
(ITLOS), asking it to order the immediate release of the Greenpeace ship 
Arctic Sunrise and all those who were aboard for the peaceful protest 
against Gazprom’s Arctic oil platform, the Prirazlomnaya. 
If ITLOS rules in favour of the Netherlands, the 28 Greenpeace 
International activists, freelance photographer Denis Sinyakov and 
freelance videographer Kieron Bryan could go home while they await 
confirmation of a Russian court date. 
The Dutch authorities initiated an arbitration case against Russia on 
October 4, and are calling for ITLOS to indicate ‘provisional measures’ 
pending the outcome of that arbitration. (1) 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). 
Requesting ITLOS to indicate ‘provisional measures’ is an unusual step 
for a government to take and one Greenpeace International welcomes. 
“Greenpeace applauds the Dutch government for taking these very 
important steps,” said Greenpeace International General Counsel, Jasper 
Teulings. “However, it will likely take about four weeks before the 
Tribunal announces the verdict. Greenpeace International calls on all 
governments involved to step up their work to ensure the immediate 
release of the detainees.” 
The Netherlands has never launched a case at ITLOS before and has done 
so now as the Arctic Sunrise is a Dutch flagged ship. The legal argument 
presented by the Netherlands will remain unknown until case documents 
become public, probably at the start of hearings. A likely argument is 
that the Russian Federation violated the right to freedom of navigation 
by boarding the vessel in Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (and 
clearly outside of Russia's territorial waters), in contravention of the 
UNCLOS. (2) 
Since the inception of ITLOS in 1996, 21 cases have been submitted to 
the Tribunal, and of those, four related to provisional measures. 
*Notes:*
(1) 
http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/nieuws/2013/10/21/nederland-vraagt-zeerechttribunaal
-vrijlating-bemanning-en-vrijgave-schip-greenpeace.html 
(2) The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea introduced the concept 
of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), placing large parts of the ocean 
that had previously belonged to the high seas under a degree of national 
sovereignty, but at the same time guaranteeing continued freedom of 
navigation through these waters  (see Article 58, paragraph 1). The 
Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was boarded in Russia’s EEZ, outside of 
the safety zone declared around Prirazlomnaya. The Convention permits 
boarding in very limited cases, that are clearly not applicable. The 
Russian Federation has never publicly stated on what legal basis it 
seized the ship. 
http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_overview_convention
.htm 
Independent legal experts’ opinions on the boarding and seizure of the 
Arctic Sunrise and her passengers:
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/features/legal-experts-on-arctic
-sunrise/
 
 
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