Espreso. Global

UN resumes hearings on Ukraine's case against Russia, based on Genocide Convention

18 September, 2023 Monday

The UN International Court of Justice is examining Ukraine's second lawsuit against Russia under the Genocide Convention. Hearings are scheduled from September 18 to 27, with a decision on jurisdiction to follow

Deutsche Welle reported the information.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague resumed hearings in the case of Ukraine v. Russia "On the Charges of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide".

"The peculiarity of the process is that two warring parties that do not interact with each other either on political or diplomatic platforms will meet in the main UN court and will clarify what experts say is an atypical issue. Moreover, 32 other states have intervened in the dispute, and this is unprecedented," the statement says. 

Russian officials continue to accuse Ukraine of genocide. On Monday, Russia repeated its accusation that the "Russophobic and neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv" is using the 1948 Genocide Convention, to which both countries are parties, as a pretext to "drag" the case to court.

Russia wants the case dismissed, calling it a "hopelessly flawed" case that challenges Moscow's argument that its invasion of Ukraine was to prevent genocide. Russia says the court has no jurisdiction. The hearings, which will last until September 27, will not address the merits of the case, but instead focus on legal arguments over jurisdiction.

Moscow says that Ukraine is using this case as a roundabout way to get a ruling on the overall legality of Russia's military actions.

Some experts say a ruling in Kyiv's favor would not stop the war, but could affect future reparations payments.

Ukraine says there was no risk of genocide in eastern Ukraine, where it has been fighting Russian-backed forces since 2014, and that the genocide treaty in no way allows for an invasion to stop alleged genocide.

According to experts, for the first time, the main issue is not genocide charges, but rather allegations of false genocide charges. The central question at this stage is whether the court can consider this dispute on the merits.

Between September 18 and 27, the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague will hold hearings regarding Ukraine's accusations of genocide against Russia, in accordance with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

This process is unique because it involves two opposing parties that currently have no political or diplomatic interactions. Additionally, 32 other states have intervened in this dispute, which is unprecedented.

Ukraine is asserting that Russia, by falsely accusing Ukraine of "genocide" to justify its military aggression, has violated the 1948 Convention.

Notably, the primary focus here is not the allegations of genocide itself, but the wrongful accusations of genocide. This crucial aspect has yet to be addressed. The current stage revolves around whether the court has the authority to consider this dispute. Future hearings will delve into the court's jurisdiction and the admissibility of Ukraine's complaint. Russia has raised preliminary objections and will present them on September 18.

Traditionally, one of the parties - often the defendant - can contest the court's jurisdiction in the case or argue that the court cannot consider the case for various reasons, as explained by the UN International Court of Justice's press service. In such situations, the party raises objections to the court's jurisdiction or the complaint's admissibility, prompting a hearing on the merits. Other parties are invited to respond to these objections. The court will publish the written statements on the first day of the hearing to help clarify their positions, according to experts. While Ukraine's position is clear, Russia's arguments remain unknown.

The UN International Court of Justice will hear the parties and reach a decision. If the court determines it has jurisdiction and accepts the claim, either wholly or partially, the proceedings on the merits will continue. Otherwise, they will conclude.

This phase of the hearing will last until September 27, with a decision on jurisdiction expected at a later date. The decision on whether to proceed with the case on its merits is crucial, as it will impact the legal protective measures sought. If the court agrees with Russia that it lacks jurisdiction, the protective measures will be revoked.

  • On September 23, the United Nations International Court of Justice scheduled hearings on Ukraine's genocide lawsuit against Russia for September 18 to 27, 2023. These hearings will also address Russia's preliminary objections.

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