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by Staff Writers
Berlin (AFP) Oct 25, 2013
A case brought by the Netherlands against Russia over the detention of Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise and its crew will be heard early next month, the international maritime tribunal said Friday.
However, Russia has already said it will boycott the November 6 hearing before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, based in Hamburg, Germany.
Moscow has sparked international protests over its heavy-handed response after two Greenpeace activists in September scaled a state-owned oil platform to protest against Russian energy exploration in the Arctic.
It has detained the 30 crew of the Dutch-flagged icebreaker, including two journalists, in the northern Murmansk region, on piracy charges, which prosecutors later reduced to hooliganism.
The Hague has demanded Moscow release the vessel and crew and refrain from "any judicial or administrative measures against the 'Arctic Sunrise', its crew members, its owners and its operators," the tribunal said.
Russia through its Berlin embassy this week informed the tribunal that under an opt-out it is not subject to its jurisdiction in such disputes and that it "does not intend to participate in the proceedings".
The hearing will go ahead regardless under tribunal rules which do not require both parties to a dispute to appear or defend their case.
A ruling is expected within about one month, the tribunal's press office told AFP.
The court was established by the United Nations in order to help settle maritime disputes between states.
Beyond the Ice Age
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