Crimea Annexation Case

JurisdictionAustria
CourtRegional Court (Austria)
Docket Number(Case 9 Bs 269/16x)2

Austria, Higher Regional Court Linz.

(Case 9 Bs 269/16x)2

Crimea Annexation Case 1

Extradition — Treaties — European Convention on Extradition, 1957 — Extradition for criminal prosecution — Whether permissible for Russian Federation to request extradition of Ukrainian nationals for crimes committed in Crimea prior to incorporation of Crimea

War and armed conflict — Force — Use or threat of force — Charter of the United Nations, 1945, Article 2(4) — Prohibition of the use or threat of force a peremptory norm — Whether conduct of Russian Federation in relation to Crimea violating prohibition

State responsibility — Peremptory norms — Obligation not to recognize situations created in violation of peremptory norms — International Law Commission, Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, 2001, Article 41(2) — Customary status of Article 41(2) — Whether Austria having an obligation not to recognize incorporation of Crimea

Territory — Annexation — Occupation — Treaties — Treaty between Russian Federation and Republic of Crimea on Accession of Republic of Crimea to Russian Federation and on Forming New Constituent Entities within Russian Federation of 18 March 2014 — Legal status of Crimea under international law — Whether incorporation of Crimea by Russian Federation lawful under international law — Whether sovereign acts by Russian authorities for or pertaining to Crimea valid under international law

Treaties — Legal effects — 2014 Accession Treaty between Russian Federation and Republic of Crimea — Territorial scope of European Convention on Extradition, 1957 — Whether treaties between Russian Federation and Austria extending to Crimea — The law of Austria

Summary:3The facts:—On 11 November 2015 the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation requested the extradition of a Ukrainian national, referred to as VP, for criminal prosecution. The request was based on the European Convention on Extradition, 19574 and pertained to crimes allegedly committed in Sevastopol (Ukraine) between 2011 and late 2013, prior to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. The Russian Federation claimed authority to exercise criminal jurisdiction under the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on the Accession of the Republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation and on Forming New Constituent Entities within the Russian Federation of 18 March 2014, which, the Russian Federation claimed, had effected the incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation. The Russian Federation argued that, by virtue of Article 5 of that Treaty, the person concerned had become a Russian national.

The court of first instance declared the extradition impermissible. The Public Prosecutor's Office Wels and the Senior Public Prosecutor's Office Linz appealed that decision.

Held:—The appeal was dismissed.

(1) Pursuant to Article 1 of the European Convention on Extradition, Austria was in principle obliged to extradite persons to the Russian Federation for criminal prosecution. However, general international law required that the judicial authorities of the requesting State act in accordance with international law in prosecuting the person concerned. Crimea and the city of Sevastopol were incorporated into the Russian Federation following the threat of force and the deployment of Russian controlled troops in violation of Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter, 1945,5 a peremptory norm of international law. As such, it constituted an unlawful annexation (paras. 8–11).

(2)...

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