By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS (Worthy News) – Russia has asked the United Nation’s top court to throw out a case challenging Moscow’s argument that it invaded Ukraine to prevent genocide.
Ukraine claims Moscow abused the Genocide Convention to justify its invasion, but a Russian lawyer told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on Monday that Kyiv attempted an “abuse of process.”
Gennady Kuzmin explained to the 16-judge panel that Ukraine’s case seeking to halt the invasion “is hopelessly flawed and at odds with the longstanding jurisprudence of this court.”
Moscow argues that Ukraine is using the case to get a ruling on the overall legality of Russia’s military action. A verdict in Kyiv’s favor would not stop the war but could impact future reparation payments, according to experts.
Ukraine brought the case days after the Russian invasion on February 24 last year. Kyiv claims Russia is abusing international law by saying the invasion was justified to prevent an alleged genocide against Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.
Kyiv says there was no risk of genocide in eastern Ukraine, where it had been fighting Russian-backed forces since 2014.
Ukraine claims that the 1948 Genocide Convention, which both Moscow and Kyiv have ratified, doesn’t allow an invasion to stop an alleged genocide.
Kyiv says, “Russia has turned the Genocide Convention on its head — making a false claim of genocide as a basis for actions on its part that constitute grave violations of the human rights of millions of people across Ukraine.”
Lawyer Sienho Yee, told judges that Russia had not used the genocide treaty to justify its military actions in Ukraine, saying they “are based on the right to self-determination and its inherent right to self-defense.”
The Russian request to halt the case was made at the start of hearings at the ICJ, also known as the World Court.
Yet in a massive show of international support for Kyiv, 32 of Ukraine’s allies, including Canada, Australia, and every European Union member nation except Hungary, will on Wednesday support Kyiv’s legal arguments.
The United States reportedly also asked to make legal arguments on Ukraine’s behalf, but the U.N. court’s judges rejected the American request on a technicality.
The court’s panel of international judges will likely take weeks or months to decide whether the case can proceed. If it does, a final ruling is likely years away, trial observers said.
The ICJ hears disputes between nations over matters of law, unlike the International Criminal Court (ICC), also based in The Hague. The ICC holds individuals criminally responsible for offenses, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. That’s why the ICC issued a war crimes arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of responsibility for the abduction of Ukrainian children.
Moscow has vehemently denied wrongdoing and defended its actions against what it views as a Nazi regime in Kyiv. “We will strive for the demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine, as well as bringing to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin last year.
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