ICJ to rule on jurisdiction in Russia-Ukraine genocide case

The United Nations’ highest court will rule on Friday whether it will hear a case in which Ukraine has accused Russia of violating international law by saying its invasion was launched to stop an alleged genocide.

Ukraine brought the case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, days after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

In hearings in September, lawyers for Moscow urged judges to throw out the case, saying Kyiv’s legal arguments were flawed. The ICJ on Monday said a ruling on Russia’s objections to the court’s jurisdiction will be handed down on Friday.

Kyiv says Russia is breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention by saying the invasion was justified to stop an alleged genocide of Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine says there was no risk of genocide in eastern Ukraine, where it had been fighting Russian-backed forces since 2014.

Moscow has said Ukraine is using the case as a roundabout way to get a ruling on the overall legality of Russia’s military action.

The same court on Friday ordered Israel to take action to prevent acts of genocide as it wages war against Hamas militants in Gaza, and do more to help civilians. It stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire as requested by South Africa.

The court did not rule on the core of the case – whether genocide has occurred in Gaza. But it recognised the right of Palestinians in Gaza to be protected from acts of genocide.

If the ICJ does decide the Ukraine-Russia case can move forward, it could take many months before hearings on the merits are scheduled.

On Wednesday, the ICJ will rule in another case brought by Ukraine against Russia in which it accused Moscow of violating U.N. anti-terrorism and anti-discrimination treaties in relation to the downing of flight MH17 in July 2014. Russian has denied involvement in the incident.

 Reuters

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