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Covington Secures Decisive Victory For Ukraine Before the International Court of Justice

November 8, 2019

WASHINGTONCovington has secured a decisive win for Ukraine in proceedings against the Russian Federation before the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) concerning violations by Russia of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (“ICSFT”) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (“CERD”).

This is the first time ever that the Russian Federation will have to answer for its violations of international law before the World Court.

Following a week-long hearing in The Hague before the 16 judges of the Court, the ICJ issued a judgment on 8 November 2019 finding that it has jurisdiction to hear all claims made by Ukraine under the ICSFT and the CERD and that Ukraine’s Application in relation to those claims is admissible.

“We are proud to represent Ukraine in today’s landmark victory before the International Court of Justice,” said partner Marney Cheek, counsel for Ukraine and co-chair of Covington’s international disputes practice. “Ukraine will now present its case on the merits before the World Court as Ukraine’s pursuit of justice moves forward.”

“This decision brings hope to the people of Ukraine that the World Court will act decisively to end Russia's human rights abuses against them,” said Covington partner Jonathan Gimblett, counsel for Ukraine.

Ukraine instituted proceedings against the Russian Federation in January 2017.

Today’s victory builds upon Covington’s success in securing provisional measures on behalf of Ukraine in April 2017, when the Court issued provisional measures ordering Russia to refrain from limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to conserve its representative institutions, and ensure the availability of education in the Ukrainian language, and not to aggravate the dispute before the Court during the pendency of the proceedings.

All of Ukraine’s claims, which concern the financing of terrorism and racial discrimination in Crimea, will now move forward to a full hearing on the merits at the ICJ.

The Covington team is led by partners Marney L. Cheek, Jonathan Gimblett, and David Zionts, in partnership with Professor Harold Hongju Koh of Yale Law School and Professor Jean-Marc Thouvenin of Paris-Nanterre University. Other Covington attorneys on the team are associates Clovis Trevino, George M. Mackie, Julia Brower, Tina Thomas, Megan O’Neill, Ariel Rosenbaum, Roger Polack, and Alexandra Francis, and special legal consultant Volodymyr Shkilevych.

The full text of the ICJ’s decision can be found at https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/166.

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