HomeNewsICJ Rules Ukraine Can Continue With Genocide Case Against Russia

ICJ Rules Ukraine Can Continue With Genocide Case Against Russia

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has just dismissed the majority of Russia’s objections to Ukraine’s genocide case against Moscow, indicating that it will proceed.

Ukraine submitted this lawsuit to the ICJ, the United Nations’ highest court, often known as the World Court, just days after Russia invaded its neighbour on February 24, 2022.

However, the case is not a straightforward claim of genocide. Kyiv has accused Russia of violating the international genocide convention, not by committing genocide, but by using the pact to legitimize its invasion of Ukraine.

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This is part of the 1948 United Nations Convention, which Russia and Ukraine both ratified.

In its case, Ukraine alleges Moscow justified its invasion two years ago – known in Russia as the “special military operation” – by claiming it needed to stop an alleged genocide of Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine, Luhansk and Donetsk.

Ukraine also accuses Moscow of “planning acts of genocide”.

Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Kyiv since 2014, and Putin signed a decree recognising the independence of two Ukrainian regions three days before initiating war.

But, Kyiv says it did not pose any risk of genocide to those in eastern Ukraine – and by making such a claim to justify its war, Russia was in breach of international law.

Russia’s lawyers have argued since September 2023 that the case should be thrown out, that the arguments were flawed and the court had no jurisdiction.

It said Ukraine’s argument was a way to combat Russia’s supposed legal military action. But today, the ICJ rejected five out of Russia’s six preliminary objections to the case.

Europe has repeatedly expressed its backing for Kyiv ahead of this case, with more than 24 countries offering formal statements to the court supporting Ukraine.

Although the case has passed this stage, it may be months until the World Court hears the full arguments, and years away from making a full legally binding decision.

Russia has prompted several responses from the UN’s highest court since the war in Ukraine began. The ICJ issued emergency measures in March 2022, a month after the invasion, calling for Moscow to stop its military actions.

While the court is legally binding, it cannot compel countries to follow its orders, therefore Russia ignored the petition.

In a related case, the World Court found earlier this week that Russia breached provisions of UN treaties prohibiting terrorist financing and discriminated against minorities in occupied Crimea in 2014.

However, Ukraine could not achieve a significant victory because the ICJ rejected Kyiv’s compensation request and ordered Russia to comply with the treaties.

Still, Ukraine’s representative Anton Korynevych said it was significant because “this is the first time that officially, legally, Russia is called a violator of international law.”

Kelvin Johnson for SurgeZirc UK
Kelvin Johnson for SurgeZirc UK
Kelvin Johnson is a prominent figure in the field of UK politics reporting, contributing valuable insights and analysis to SurgeZirc UK. With his extensive knowledge and experience, he plays a crucial role in keeping the public informed about the political landscape in the United Kingdom.
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