The International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided this Friday (2) that it will analyze a case in which Kiev asks the court to declare that it did not commit genocide in eastern Ukraine, as had been alleged by Russia as a pretext for the invasion initiated. in February 2022. Ukraine took the case to the court, also known as the Hague Court, days after the war began.
In this Friday’s decision, the judges ruled that the court has jurisdiction to analyze only a small part of the original case. The magistrates rejected a request from Ukraine to rule on whether or not the Russian invasion violated the 1948 Genocide Convention.
Instead, the 16-judge panel said it will take the case forward and decide later whether Ukraine committed genocide in the areas of Donetsk and Lugansk, provinces in eastern Ukraine now occupied by Russia.
“It is important for the court to rule on the issue that Ukraine is not responsible for a form of mythical genocide that the Russian Federation falsely accused Ukraine of committing,” Ukrainian representative Anton Korinevich told journalists at the ICJ.
He added that it is also important that the court’s March 2022 emergency order — that Russia immediately halt military operations in Ukraine — is still in effect.
Although the court’s decisions are final and legally binding, it has no means of enforcing them, and some states, such as Russia, have ignored decisions.
At hearings in September last year, Moscow lawyers asked judges to dismiss the entire lawsuit on the grounds that Kiev’s legal arguments were flawed and that the court did not have jurisdiction.
This Friday, the judges accepted some of Russia’s objections, but approved Ukraine’s request that the court rule on whether there is “credible evidence that Ukraine is committing genocide in violation of the Genocide Convention” in eastern Ukraine. Analysis of the case can take months.
Previously, Ukraine argued there was no risk of genocide in eastern Ukraine, where it has been fighting Russian-backed forces since 2014.
Ukraine scored another small victory at the ICJ on Wednesday (31), when judges ruled that Russia violated UN conventions against the financing of terrorism and against discrimination in a separate case dealing with incidents that occurred in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea — before the invasion that was the subject of the case analyzed this Friday. The court, however, rejected requests for reparations and additional measures made by Ukraine in relation to the case.