The International Court of Justice said it will decide “as soon as possible” on a Ukrainian request for an emergency order Russia The hostilities ceased immediately, after a hearing in The Hague boycotted by Moscow.
The United Nations’ highest court closed its Monday afternoon session a day ahead of schedule due to the Russian boycott. Ukraine He said Russia is obligated to listen to any ruling by the International Court of Justice.
The court uses a fast-track procedure that can issue a ruling on provisional compensation within days. There is no chance for Russia to comply with the ruling, but it will deal another blow to Moscow’s diminished diplomatic standing.
Ukraine accuses Russia of illegally justifying its war by falsely claiming genocide occurred in the self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk. This case is one of those brought by Ukraine to international courts in an attempt to secure a ruling that Russia is acting illegally, or committing war crimes.
“The fact that Russia’s seats are empty speaks volumes,” said Ukrainian envoy Anton Korenevich. They are not here in this court: they are on a battlefield waging a war of aggression against my country.”
He urged Russia to “lay down your arms and give your testimony.”
David Tsionets, on behalf of Ukraine in court, said: “Ukraine comes to this court because of a heinous lie and is asking for protection from the devastating consequences of that lie. The lie is the Russian Federation’s claim that genocide has been committed in Ukraine. The results are unprovoked aggression, besieged cities, and civilians being freed. A fire, a human catastrophe, and refugees fleeing for their lives.”
The International Court of Justice was established after World War II to rule on disputes between member states of the United Nations, primarily on the basis of treaties and conventions. Its provisions are binding but have no real means of implementing them.
The president of the International Court of Justice, Joan Donoghue, said the court regrets Russia’s failure to attend. The International Court of Justice has the power to pass a judgment when one of the parties fails to appear to give evidence either in writing or in person.
Ukraine wants the court to take interim measures ordering Russia to “immediately suspend military operations”, pending a full ruling on the dispute, which could take years.
The issue centers on the interpretation of the 1948 United Nations Convention on Genocide, which both countries signed. The treaty specified the International Court of Justice as a forum for resolving disputes between the signatories.
Russia says it is acting in accordance with the United Nations Charter to prevent the genocide it claims was committed against Russian-speaking Ukrainians, particularly in the self-declared republic of Donetsk.
Vladimir Putin said Russia’s “special military action” is necessary “to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide,” referring to those whose first or only language is Russian.
A leading association of genocide scholars has endorsed the view of Ukraine and Western powers that Russia has been misappropriating the term “genocide” to describe the treatment of Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.
“There is absolutely no evidence of genocide in Ukraine,” Melanie O’Brien, president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, told Reuters.
Since beginning its full invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians. The official UN civilian death toll stands at 364, including more than 20 children, although officials say the true number may be higher.
“Putin is lying and the Ukrainians – our compatriots – are dying,” Korenevich told the court. “Russia must be stopped, and the court has a role to play in stopping it.”
The International Court of Justice is the highest court to resolve disputes between nations, and while cases usually take years, it has a fast-track procedure to consider requests for “interim measures” to prevent conditions from deteriorating.
The case is separate from the investigation into war crimes in Ukraine launched by the International Criminal Court, a different court based in The Hague. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, said last week that he would press ahead with the investigation of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine since the invasion of Moscow.
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