Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

Helsinki, 22 September 2022

Finland, like many other States, has decided to take part in two sets of international judicial proceedings in which Ukraine demands that Russia be held responsible for violations of international law.

On 19 September, Finland requested the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to grant it leave to intervene as a third party in the proceedings on the inter-State application lodged by Ukraine against Russia. Interventions by third parties are helpful for the Court, as they give the benefit of additional perspectives on the issues to be decided in the case.

Ukraine’s application concerns alleged extensive and serious human rights violations committed by Russia in the territory of Ukraine during its war of aggression. The application is significant from the perspective of international law and, in particular, of the scope of application of the European Convention on Human Rights. It includes a number of fundamental questions concerning the application of the Convention in conflict situations.

The International Court of Justice of the United Nations (ICJ), on the other hand, examines allegations of genocide on the basis of Ukraine’s application. Finland and the other parties to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide have the right to participate in the proceedings, as they concern the interpretation of the provisions of the Convention. On 21 September, Finland submitted to the ICJ a declaration of intervention expressing its views on the interpretation of those provisions of the Genocide Convention which are the subject of Ukraine’s application.

“The UN Genocide Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights play a key role in the post-World War II international system and in the protection of human rights. Given their significance Finland has made this decision to take part in the two sets of proceedings dealing with serious violations of rights during the Russian war of aggression”, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto.

Finland will continue efforts to strengthen the rules-based international order. It is essential that States comply with their obligations under the United Nations Charter and humanitarian law and that human rights are protected in all situations. States must refrain from the use of force against the sovereignty or territorial integrity of other States and settle any disputes by peaceful means.

Finland considers it important that international obligations are interpreted and fulfilled in good faith and that violations of the obligations will not go without consequences.

States have established independent and impartial courts, such as the International Court of Justice of the United Nations, the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court, and conferred jurisdiction to them. Finland supports the activities of all of them.