On 18 September 2013, the crew of the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise tried to access the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, which was operating within the Russian Federation’s exclusive economic zone in the Arctic. The following day the Russian authorities boarded and arrested the Arctic Sunrise and detained its crew and charged them with various offenses. The flag state of the vessel, the Netherlands, started an arbitral procedure against the Russian Federation. The present article looks at the issues of international law raised by the arrest of the Arctic Sunrise—which both concern the law of the sea and human rights law—and the arbitration initiated by the Netherlands. Human rights law is essential for assessing the kind of measures a coastal state may take in enforcing its legislation based on the law of the sea in its exclusive economic zone. Providing sufficient room for the freedom of expression may limit the scope of action that might otherwise exist.
Judgment of 8 October2013(n) 22 at p. 2; Note 162-N of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in The Hague to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs of 1 October 2013 (http://www.itlos.org/fileadmin/itlos/documents/cases/case_no.22/Request_provisional_measures_en_withtranslations.pdf at p. 40) p. 2.
Ibid. p. 20.
Ibid. p. 21.
Ibid. p. 22.
See J. Meikle“Arctic 30 protesters seek damages from Russia”The Guardian17 March 2014 (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/17/arctic-30-activists-damages-russia-court-greenpeace).