Ukrainian-Jewish billionaire Igor Kolomoisky sues Russia

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Ukrainian-Jewish billionaire Igor Kolomoisky sued Russia in an international court over his inability to operate an airport in Crimea.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration, a Hague-based intergovernmental organization with 117 member states, announced Wednesday that it would review the lawsuit, Reuters reported.

Kolomoisky, a Ukrainian nationalist who funded military actions in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, and Aeroport Belbek sued the Russian Federation for compensation over what they say is their exclusion from operating a commercial passenger terminal at Sevastopol International Airport.

Russia invaded and annexed Crimea last year. Kolomoisky is wanted for questioning in Russia in connection with accusations that he is responsible for war crimes – a charge he has denied. Kolomoisky has accused Russia of crimes against humanity.

At the Hague-based court, the claimants say Russia deprived them of their right to operate a passenger terminal at the airport and thus Russia had violated a bilateral investment treaty. Kolomoisky’s company held a contract to operate a passenger terminal at Sevastopol Airport until 2020. He wants Russia to compensate him for income lost after he was deprived of use of the facility.

Kolomoisky has estimated his losses linked to the airport, near Belbek in Crimea, at $15 million, according to Ukrainian media reports.

Russia annexed Crimea following the ousting in a revolution of the government of Viktor Yanukovych, who critics accused of corruption and being a Kremlin stooge. After his ousting, a revolutionary government appointed Kolomoisky to serve as governor of the strategic Dnepropetrovsk region in Ukraine’e east, but he was removed last year amid a dispute with Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko.

Separately, Kolomoisky’s former deputy governor, Gennady Korban, who also is Jewish, is standing trial in Kiev for allegedly orchestrating abductions of political rivals and fraud. Korban denies any wrongdoing.

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            Meylakh comments on the story, "Jewish politician on trial in Ukraine invokes blood  libel" (http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Jewish-politician-on-trial-in-Ukraine-invokes-blood-libel-440685)

          It is a surprising fact that the Jewish leaders of Ukraine did not mention in their statements any violations of Korban's human rights. The court tried Korban the all night, taking him to the court room on Saturday and continuing the all next day and on Sunday till Monday morning.

         Is it normal to any democratic country? No. Shame on all of us seeing Korban -- whatever the crime was -- mistreated and we said nothing. Only Rabbi Kamenetsky of Dnipropetrovsk issued a statement protesting against the court's violating the Korban'sfundamental human rights and that he should  be tried according to the rule of law.  

            The UCSJ joined the Rabbi's protest. I was on the line with the US embassy to point out to Brian Campbell the issue and ask him to intervene.  Jewish leaders in Ukraine proved themselves in Korban's case that they do not practice Jewish spiritually and mentally.   Korban is not the worst among the political spectrum in Ukraine.   

             It did not matter that whoever said about what happened with Korban compared to the real truth that Korban went through a heart surgery. Who in the world would take out from the hospital a man  straight to the court room with the ambulance and doctors watching and monitoring his health while Korban was tried around the clock. The UCSJ must intensify his glorious activities to defend human rights in Ukraine in full speed; there is nobody else to do this here. Period.     

            Taking a Jew to the court room on Shabbos turn us back to the darkest times of the Jewish history in the Diaspora when the crimes against Jews were planned and committed  against Jews on Shabbos. Korban was not so dangerous to  civil society to put him in detention in an emergency way as was done.