Kyiv argues that Russia’s claim that it subjected Donbas residents to ‘genocide’ is groundless
The UN’s highest court has confirmed that it has received a request from Ukraine asking it to sue Russia under the so-called “Genocide Convention”. accusing Moscow of “Planning” of committing acts of genocide against Ukrainians, Kiev has denied accusations that it itself perpetrated genocide against the inhabitants of the republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.
In a press release on Sunday, the International Court of Justice – the UN’s main judicial body – revealed that Kyiv had formally requested that the court establish jurisdiction over the ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine so that his case against Russia may be under the provisions of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide.
In its filing, Kiev stated that it “categorically denies” the Kremlin’s allegation that it targeted the population of newly recognized republics in what Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously insisted was an 8-year conflict “genocide.”
“The Russian Federation falsely claimed that acts of genocide took place in the Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine, and on this basis recognized the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” and the Lugansk People’s Republic” , The Kyiv application reads, as cited by the court.
Kiev then filed a counterclaim, accusing Russia of “planning acts of genocide in Ukraine” and arguing that Russia has been “intentionally kill and inflict serious injury on members of Ukrainian nationality”. The request does not provide any specific evidence of “genocide” by Russian forces. The Russian military has repeatedly said it only hits military infrastructure, while accusing Kiev of trying to use civilians as “human shields”. Speaking at the UN Security Council meeting on Sunday, Russian envoy to the organization Vasily Nebenzya argued that the “crisis” in Ukraine did not start with the launch of the “special military operation” in Ukraine, but “much earlier, when you [the international community] turned a blind eye to the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists in the Donbass.
The motion asks the court to rule on “provisional measures” against Russia “in order to prevent irreparable harm to the rights of Ukraine and its people and to avoid aggravating or extending the dispute between the parties under the Genocide Convention.”
The International Court of Justice, which is headquartered in The Hague like the International Criminal Court, is vested with the power to adjudicate legal disputes between UN member states. However, the UN tribunal does not assign individual responsibility for potential war crimes. While the audience of “provisional measures” should take place in the near future, the procedure usually drags on for years.
The Russian military offensive in Ukraine was launched early Thursday, with Putin saying his goal was to “denazify” and “demilitarize” Ukraine, as well as “defend” the Donbass republics, recently recognized by Russia. Ukraine, the US, UK, Germany, EU and NATO have all accused Russia of launching a “without provocation” attack on Ukraine. The West has since imposed several sets of sweeping sanctions targeting the Russian economy as a whole as well as Putin personally and dozens of other senior Russian officials.
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