Ukraine accuses Russia of ‘terrorism’ in top UN court

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) holds a public hearing in the case of Ukraine against the Russian Federation, in The Hague on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 06 March 2017
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Ukraine accuses Russia of ‘terrorism’ in top UN court

THE HAGUE: Ukraine urged the UN’s top court on Monday to help bring stability to its war-torn east, seeking to convince judges that Russia is “sponsoring terrorism” in Kiev’s conflict with separatist pro-Russian rebels.
“Today I stand before the court to ask for the protection of the basic human rights of the Ukrainian people,” Kiev’s Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal told the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
“Thousands of innocent Ukrainians have already suffered deadly attacks,” she said.
Nearly three years of conflict have claimed about 10,000 lives in eastern Ukraine — and led to Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s southern peninsula of Crimea in 2014 — pushing ties between Moscow and the West to their lowest point since the Cold War.
“Today I stand before the world to seek protection for the Ukraine from the Russian Federation,” Zerkal added, saying all Kiev was seeking was “a measure of stability and calm in an unpredictable and dangerous situation.”
Ukraine’s representatives are asking the ICJ to impose emergency measures ordering Russia to stop its alleged funnelling of money, weapons and personnel into the east, and to halt what it called “discrimination” against minorities in Russian-occupied Crimea.
It is also seeking compensation for attacks on civilians during the conflict.
Moscow has long denied arming the rebels and has said the case is motivated only “by political interests.”
It has also claimed that Kiev has “shown a lack of will to hold a concrete dialogue.”
Ukraine lodged its case against its former Soviet master at the ICJ in mid-January, saying it had protested for several years against Moscow’s alleged financing of separatist rebels battling Ukrainian government forces.
Kiev says Moscow has “largely failed” to respond to its efforts to resolve the dispute and that “further negotiations would be futile.”
Ukraine now “respectfully requests the court to adjudge and declare that the Russian Federation bears international responsibility by virtue of its sponsorship of terrorism... for the acts of terrorism committed by its proxies in Ukraine,” it said in papers before the court.
“Russia must stop the flow of weapons and assistance across its borders to groups that launch terrorist attacks against civilians,” said Harold Hongju Koh, another of Kiev’s representatives.
Ukraine was facing a “human rights emergency,” he said, adding that, “in Crimea, Russia must cease its campaign of cultural erasure.”
Since Russia insists it has not violated any conventions if it “will not refrain, it must be because its behavior is neither innocent, nor legal,” added Koh, a professor in international law.
Rare talks between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over last month proved “fruitless,” the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement Thursday.
Poroshenko hailed the start of the four days of hearings Monday, calling it “a historic moment” on his Facebook page.
“The truth is stronger than weapons!” he wrote.
The hearings come after an upsurge in the violence, which killed 35 people in early February, centered-around the government-held town of Avdiivka near the rebel bastion of Donetsk.
Moscow also “brazenly defied” the UN Charter by seizing Ukraine’s southern peninsula of Crimea, Kiev said in its filing, accusing Russia of discriminating against Crimean minorities such as Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians.
Ukraine is seeking “full reparations for... acts of terrorism the Russian Federation has caused, facilitated or supported,” it said, including the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by a missile over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Russia will make its case on Tuesday, with about 35 Russian officials attending the hearings due to end on Thursday.
The ICJ was set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between countries.
While UN member nations are bound to abide by the tribunal’s decisions, the court’s ruling is unlikely to have much concrete effect on the ground, experts said.


Drifter charged in stabbing death of champ golfer in Iowa

Updated 18 September 2018
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Drifter charged in stabbing death of champ golfer in Iowa

  • Celia Barquin Arozamena was found in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 50 kilometers north of Des Moines
  • A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where a suspect was apprehended

AMES, Iowa: A homeless man attacked and killed a top amateur golfer from Spain who was playing a round near her university campus in central Iowa, leaving her body in a pond on the course, police said Tuesday.
Collin Daniel Richards, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Celia Barquin Arozamena, a student at Iowa State University.
Barquin was found Monday morning in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Des Moines. Police were called to the golf course around 10:20 a.m. to investigate a possible missing female after golfers found a golf bag with no one around it.
Officers found Barquin’s body some distance from the bag, with several stab wounds to her upper torso, head and neck, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday against Richards.
A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where Richards had been living in a tent, the complaint said. Officers found Richards with several fresh scratches on his face consistent with fighting, and a deep laceration in his left hand that he tried to conceal, it said.
An acquaintance of Richards told investigators that the suspect had said in recent days that he had “an urge to rape and kill a woman” while they were walking on a trail near the course, the complaint said. A second acquaintance told police that Richards arrived at his home on Monday appearing “disheveled and covered in blood, sand and water.” He bathed and left with his clothes in a backpack.
Investigators later recovered two pairs of shorts with blood stains and a knife that Richards allegedly gave to two other people after the slaying, the complaint said. Those two individuals were driving Richards out of town after the slaying, but he asked them to drop him off near the camp so he could get his tent and that’s when officers arrested him, it said.
Barquin was the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year. The university said the native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, was finishing her civil engineering degree this semester after exhausting her eligibility at Iowa State in 2017-2018.
She was one of the most accomplished players in Cyclone golf history, the university said. In April, she became the second women’s golfer at Iowa State to earn medalist honors at a conference tournament when claiming the 2018 Big 12 Championship. She did it with a three-shot victory.
Barquin, who was ranked No. 69 nationally by Golfweek, ended her career as a Cyclone with a fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance and earned All-Big 12 Team honors for the third time — the second player in Iowa State’s history to do so.
She became the third Cyclone women’s golfer to compete in the US Women’s Open Championship, the university said. The team announced Tuesday it was pulling out of the East & West Match Play in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to be with friends and family and to grieve their loss.
Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement on Twitter that she was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death” of Barquin, describing her as a “dedicated civil engineering student” and an “acclaimed golfer with a bright future.”
Head women’s golf coach Christie Martens said in a release that Barquin was “loved by all her teammates and friends” and was an “outstanding representative of our school.”
“We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life,” Martens said.