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Top UN court rules Russia-Ukraine genocide case can go forward

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The United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that it will hear a part of Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia over false allegations of genocide that Moscow used to justify its full-scale invasion, Reuters reported on Feb. 2.

Ukraine brought a case before the ICJ in February 2022, arguing that Russia violated international law when it used false claims about acts of genocide against Russian speakers in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts as a justification to launch an all-out war against Ukraine.

Judges declared that the ICJ had jurisdiction to hear only a small part of the original case, according to Reuters.

The Hague-based court will rule on whether Ukraine committed genocide in the parts of eastern Ukraine now occupied by Russia but has rejected Kyiv’s request to determine whether Moscow’s invasion violated the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Russia submitted objections to Ukraine’s suit during hearings in September, arguing that the UN’s principal judicial organ does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case. Following the Feb. 2 decision, the suit can advance, but it may take months before hearings resume on the case’s merits.

Read also: Paul Grod: A cry to bring Russia to justice for its genocidal war in Ukraine

Ukraine’s case is supported by 32 intervening states, which is reportedly the largest number of countries to ever join another nation’s lawsuit at the Hague court.

In its lawsuit, Ukraine “emphatically denies” that such genocide has occurred, aiming “to establish that Russia has no lawful basis to take action in and against Ukraine for the purpose of preventing and punishing any purported genocide.”

Kyiv’s lawyers also accused Moscow of “planning acts of genocide in Ukraine,” adding that Russia “is intentionally killing and inflicting serious injury on members of the Ukrainian nationality.”

Since the outbreak of Russia’s full-scale war, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the parliaments of eight countries, including Ukraine, have recognized acts committed by Russian invading forces as genocide.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called on European countries to recognize Russia’s mass abduction of Ukrainian children as genocide and on the international community to help Ukraine retrieve the children.

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