An international court has ruled against Russia in a dispute involving a 2013 Greenpeace protest. The Rutgers UK reports that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague concluded that Russia should compensate the Netherlands for an attempted protest Greenpeace conducted on a Russian drilling flotilla. The 2013 stunt was part of a protest against Russia conducting exploration for oil in the Arctic in which protesters attempted to scale a drilling platform in order to unfurl a banner.
Russian authorities later seized the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise and arrested its crew in which the activists and freelance journalists on board faced piracy charges that would have resulted in a sentence of 15 years in jail. The crew and ship were later released as part of an amnesty agreement stemming from a free speech protest the band Pussy Riot conducted around the same time. Upon learning of the ruling, Russia rejected the court’s decision stating it not only does not recognize the mediation body but the decision itself rewards hooliganism.
The Arctic Sunrise was registered under the auspices of the Netherlands which is why a complaint against Russia was filed at the international court in Hague. I have to agree with Russia since a critical overview of the events surrounding the controversy puts the blame for the Greenpeace activist’s predicament squarely at the feet of the campaigners. The stunt the green activists tried to pull is a typical way for the group to get publicity for the causes Greenpeace champions and campaigners performed their charade knowing the risks it entailed. It is my hope, however, Russia holds out by not paying Greenpeace and the group does not pursue the claim. Not just for the injustice of it all but what most likely will occur if a similar incident happens again. Next time a Greenpeace ship decides to cross paths with a Russian vessel, the reaction may not be as civilized.