Ukraine war: Russia demands UN court throw out case against it
Russia has requested the International Court of Justice to dismiss a lawsuit initiated by Ukraine. Kyiv alleges that Moscow has improperly invoked genocide law as a justification for its invasion.
Russia contends that its intervention in Ukraine was to prevent a potential genocidal attack on ethnic Russians in the eastern region. The proceedings in The Hague will not assess the legality of Russia’s invasion but will instead assess whether the International Court has the authority to scrutinize Ukraine’s allegations.
Ukraine asserts that there was no imminent risk of genocide in the eastern part of the country, where it had been engaged in conflicts with Russian-backed forces since 2014. Additionally, Ukraine argues that the genocide treaty does not provide authorization for an invasion to halt an alleged genocide.
Russia, on its part, characterizes Ukraine’s case as fundamentally flawed and suggests that Kyiv’s true objective is to obtain a judgment on the merits and faults of Russia’s military actions.
Ukraine initiated this case shortly after the Russian invasion on February 24 of the previous year. In mid-March, the International Court of Justice, which is the highest court in the United Nations, called upon Russia to cease its military operations in Ukraine.
However, Russia declined to comply with this directive, objecting to the court’s jurisdiction and deeming Ukraine’s application as inadmissible.
During the court proceedings on Monday, Russia’s legal representative, Gennady Kuzmin, argued that since Ukraine asserted that no genocide had occurred, there could not have been a violation of the United Nations Genocide Convention.
“That alone should be enough to reject the case,” he added.
In the coming days, the court will hear submissions from 32 other nations, all supporting Ukraine’s argument that the court has the proper jurisdiction to handle the case.
The hearings are expected to last until 27 September.
The 1948 UN Genocide Convention defined genocide as crimes committed “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.”
Russian officials continue to accuse Ukraine of committing genocide.
In a separate case before the ICJ that dates back to 2017, Ukraine accuses Russia of illegally annexing Crimea and illicitly funding separatist rebels.
That action, brought under UN anti-terrorism and anti-discrimination conventions, is still in progress.