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Russian official: No future for Dutch appeal with maritime court

October 23, 2013, 13:48 UTC+3

Prospects are bleak that a Dutch bid will free Greenpeace activists from Russian detention, a senior Russian lawmaker has said

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Photo ITAR-TASS/EPA/ Dmitri Sharomov

Photo ITAR-TASS/EPA/ Dmitri Sharomov

MOSCOW, October 23 (Itar-Tass) - Prospects are bleak that a Dutch bid will free Greenpeace activists from Russian detention, a senior Russian lawmaker has said. Protesters who stormed a Russian oil platform in Arctic waters from the Dutch-registered vessel Arctic Sunrise are unlikely to be freed by a Netherlands appeal to an international Tribunal On The Law of the Sea, said Konstantin Dobrynin, deputy chairman of the upper house Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation, Legal and Judicial Affairs.

“I welcome the Netherlands’ appeal with the international tribunal for one simple reason: they will likely fail to win in court. Any way of solving a dispute, except legal and judicial, would be counter-productive,” Dobrynin told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

Litigation would likely state that the crew and passengers of Arctic Sunrise had affected the safety of the Prirazlomnaya platform, he said. A decision on the relevance of arrest and detention of a vessel should be solely based on rules stated in the Rome Convention, which says that a state whose ships or stationary platforms suffered an assault “shall immediately make a preliminary inquiry into the facts, in accordance with its own legislation”, Dobrynin added.

This would be in accordance with Russian law, "including its criminal code and criminal procedure,” he said.

Dutch authorities should give “closer consideration to both Russian and international law,” Dobrynin said, notably to Article 13 of the 1988 Rome Convention governing threats to the safety of navigation and sea platforms, commission of an offence and delay to a ship's passage. "Detention of a vessel will be deemed legal if it complies with Russian law and is well-founded,” Dobrynin said.

He urged Russian investigators to study the law since they considered the actions of Greenpeace activists to be piracy, “of which there is no trace in this case … at least because piracy is based on venal intentions while here we are dealing with simple conspired hooliganism committed by an organized group with the use of some items as weapons,” Dobrynin said.

The appeal to the Hamburg-based tribunal is the Netherlands' first application to the international institution. Despite the legal move, Dutch authorities continue diplomatic efforts to have the activists released. 

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