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Russia snubs UN tribunal hearings in Ukraine case

Kyiv official urges top UN court to order Russia to end its devastating invasion of Ukraine, in hearing snubbed by Russia

Ukrainian representative Anton Korynevych told the judges of the International Court of Justice: “Russia must be stopped and the Court has a role to play in stopping it”.

Ukraine has asked the court to order Russia to “immediately suspend military operations” launched on February 24 “which have as their stated aim and purpose the prevention and suppression of a claimed genocide” in the eastern separatist regions of Lugansk and Donetsk.

Kiev’s lawyers rejected the Russian request.

A decision on Ukraine’s request is expected within days.

If the court were to order a cessation of hostilities, “I think the likelihood of that happening is zero,” said Terry Gill, a professor of military law at the University of Amsterdam. He noted that if a nation does not comply with the court order, judges could seek action from the United Nations Security Council, where Russia holds veto power.

Russia’s seats in the Great Hall of Justice at the court’s Peace Palace headquarters were empty for the hearing.

The presiding judge, US judge Joan E. Donoghue, said that the Russian ambassador to the Netherlands, Alexander Shulgin, had informed the judges that “his government had no intention of participating in the oral proceedings “.

Korynevych condemned the Moscow snub.

“The fact that the Russian seats are empty speaks volumes,” he said. “They are not here in this court. They are on a battlefield waging a war of aggression against my country.

The request for so-called interim measures is related to a case that Ukraine filed under the Genocide Convention. Both countries have ratified the 1948 treaty, which contains a clause allowing nations to bring disputes based on its provisions to the court in The Hague.

“Ukraine categorically denies that such genocide took place and that the Russian Federation has a legal basis to take action in Ukraine and against Ukraine with the aim of preventing and punishing genocide,” the statement said. country in its application to the court.

Ukraine’s nine-page legal brief opening the case argues that “Russia overturned the Genocide Convention” by making a false statement. He adds that “Russia’s lie is all the more offensive and ironic that it appears to be Russia planning acts of genocide in Ukraine.”

The success of Ukraine’s claim will depend on the court accepting its “prima facie jurisdiction” in the case, which does not guarantee that the court will ultimately proceed with the action. Cases brought before the International Court of Justice usually take years to process.

Regardless of the outcome of the hearings, they give Ukraine another platform to air its grievances over the invasion of Moscow.

“It’s part, I think, of an overall diplomatic strategy to try to exert maximum pressure on Russia,” Gill said.


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