Ukraine told the International Court of Justice on Tuesday that Russia invoked a “terrible lie” that it was trying to stop the alleged genocide to justify its 2022 invasion.

Issued on: September 19, 2023 – 5:11 p.m. Modified: September 19, 2023 – 5:13 p.m

2 minutes

The court began hearings on Monday over its jurisdiction in the case, which Russia is seeking to dismiss, calling Ukraine’s arguments “hopelessly flawed.”

Ukraine took the case to the International Court of Justice, the United Nations’ highest court also known as the World Court, days after Russia’s invasion on February 24 last year, arguing that Russia had violated the 1948 Genocide Convention it justified its invasion by saying it was trying to stop the alleged genocide in eastern Ukraine.

“Russia is waging war against my country in the name of this terrible lie that Ukraine is committing genocide against its own people,” Ukraine’s representative Anton Korynevych told the international jury on Tuesday.

“Can the state use false accusations of genocide as a pretext to destroy cities, bomb civilians and deport children from their homes? Is this court powerless when the Genocide Convention is so cynically abused? The answer to these questions must be ‘no.’

Ukraine says there is no threat of genocide in eastern Ukraine, where it has fought against Russian-backed forces since 2014, and that the Genocide Treaty does not permit an invasion to stop an alleged genocide.

Russia demands dismissal

Russia asked the court to dismiss the case at the start of hearings on Monday, saying Ukraine was using it as a means to seek a ruling on the overall legality of Russia’s military action.

“Ukraine insists that no genocide took place,” Russia’s agent in court, Gennady Kuzmin, said in his opening statement.

“That alone should be enough to dismiss the case. Because according to the case law of the court, there can be no violation of the Genocide Convention if there has been no genocide.”

Sienho Yee, another lawyer for Russia, said Russia’s justification for the invasion was not based on the genocide convention but “on the right to self-determination and the inherent right to self-defense.”

Jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice

The hearings, which are scheduled to last until Sept. 27, will focus solely on the court’s jurisdiction over the case.

The International Court of Justice hears disputes between nations, while the International Criminal Court, also based in The Hague, tries individuals for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On Wednesday, the ICJ will hear from 32 of Ukraine’s allies – including every European Union member except Hungary, as well as Canada and Australia – all of whom support the argument that the case should proceed.

The court rejected the United States’ request to argue on Ukraine’s behalf as a technicality.

It could take weeks or months for the court to decide whether the case can move forward, and if so, a final decision would take months or years.

In a preliminary ruling in March last year, the court ruled in favor of Ukraine and called on Russia to immediately stop military actions in Ukraine.

Russia has so far ignored the order and the court has no way of enforcing its decisions. But observers say the order could have an impact on post-war compensation payments.

(with news agencies)

Source :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *