On the legal regime of the temporary occupied territory of Crimea
In March, 2014, a part of Ukraine – the Autonomous Republic of Crimea – was occupied and annexed by the Russian Federation as a result of Russian’s armed aggression.
Under international law such actions are internationally wrongful acts. Neither Ukraine no the community of nations recognize the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol as Russia’s territories.
On March 27, 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution “Ukraine’s Territorial Integrity”, calling on States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any change in the status of Crimea or the City of Sevastopol, and to refrain from actions or dealings that might be interpreted as such.
On April 15, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine “On Securing the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and the Legal Regime on the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine” (the “Law”).
By adopting the Law the Ukrainian Parliament confirms that the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol is an integral part of the territory of Ukraine.
The Law sets special legal regime at the territory of the Crimea and Sevastopol, specifically:
I. The temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine is defined as follows:
- The land territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and of the City of Sevastopol, and the inland waters of Ukraine adjacent to these territories;
- The inland waters and territorial sea of Ukraine adjacent to the Crimean Peninsula;
- The territory of the adjacent area, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf along the coast of the Crimean Peninsula, which are subject to the jurisdiction of Ukraine according to the international law;
- The underwater space within the Ukrainian territorial sea;
- The air space above the mentioned territories.
II. Activity of unlawful bodies and/or their officials
- Any activity of bodies and/or officials in the Crimean Peninsula that are created, appointed or elected without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine, are unlawful;
- Any act (document, decision) issued by self-proclaimed bodies or officials is deemed null and void, and gives rise to no legal consequences.
III. Entry in the temporarily occupied territory and exit therefrom
- Citizens of Ukraine have rights for free and unrestricted entry and exit from the temporarily occupied territory upon presenting document confirming their Ukrainian citizenship;
- Entry and exit of foreigners and stateless persons from the temporarily occupied territory is allowed only with the special permission via relevant entry-exit points.
IV. Property rights and economic activity
- Property rights in the temporarily occupied territory are protected if only they have been acquired in accordance with the laws of Ukraine;
- The land, its subsoil resources, atmosphere, water, and other natural resources within the temporarily occupied territory, the natural resources of its continental shelf and of the exclusive (maritime) economic zone, military property, and the property of Ukrainian state agencies, state-owned enterprises, institutions, and organizations that remain in the temporarily occupied territory are the property of Ukraine; their legal status can only be changed according to the laws of Ukraine;
- Any legal agreement in the temporarily occupied territory concerning property rights and interests in property, including real property, which has been entered into in violation of the laws of Ukraine or with non-authorized persons, will be deemed by the Ukrainian Side null and void from the moment of its conclusion, and gives rise to no legal consequences;
- Conducting of any economic activity that is subject to state regulatory measures (licensing, patenting, issuance of permits, certification and standardization etc.), importation and/or exportation of any military products and dual-purpose products, organization of the rail, road, sea, river, ferry, and air traffic, is also forbidden in the temporarily occupied territory.
V. Compensations for material and moral damages
- Compensations for material and moral damages caused by the temporary occupation territory to businesses and individuals are to be referred to the Russian Federation as the state which carries occupation;
- Ukraine will take all possible means to contribute to the compensation of these material and moral damages caused by the Russian Federation.
The full text of The Law of Ukraine on Securing the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and the Legal Regime on the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine can be found here.