The Ukrainian side began to present its oral arguments at the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague, where public hearings began the day before regarding the preliminary objections raised by the Russian Federation in the case of accusations of genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

“Russia is waging war with my country in the name of a terrible lie that Ukraine is committing genocide against its own people. This lie is Russia’s pretext for aggression and conquest. Russia has not provided any credible evidence. It can’t. In fact, Russia turned the Genocide Convention upside down. The international community adopted the Genocide Convention for the purpose of protection. Russia refers to the Genocide Convention with the purpose of extermination,” Anton Korynevych, Ambassador at Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, emphasised in his speech.

international court of justice, Haag

Also, according to him, the Russian Federation does not respect international law.

“For Russia, international law is not a limitation. For Russia, international law does not exist to ensure respect for sovereignty and human rights. For Russia, international law is a tool for abuse,” the diplomat said.

Unlike Russia, he stressed, Ukraine respects international law.

“Ukraine believes in resolving disputes peacefully. That is why, at the time of greatest threat, Ukraine went to this court. The Court has broad jurisdiction over disputes related to the Genocide Convention. The connection between this dispute and the Genocide Convention is direct. Russia accused Ukraine of genocide. It unleashed a full-scale invasion to end the genocide. In other words, Russia abused and violated the Genocide Convention by using allegations of genocide as a pretext for full-scale invasion. But Russia does not exist outside the law. It must be held to account,” Korynevych said.

The day before, Russia’s representative refused to recognise the statements made by Russian president Vladimir Putin in February 2022, precisely about the full-scale invasion of Ukraine to fight the alleged “genocide” in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The representative of the Russian Federation insists that Moscow unleashed the war “according to Article 51 of the UN Charter on self-defence, and this has nothing to do with the Genocide Convention.”

In total, 32 states supported Ukraine in this lawsuit and joined it with their declarations of intervention. Representatives of these countries will also have a say during court hearings.

The Court will hold jurisdictional hearings, and if it finds that it has jurisdiction and that the lawsuit is admissible in whole or in part, the next step is to hear the case on its merits.

The hearings will be held in two rounds: Russia presented oral arguments on 18 September and will be able to present them again on 25 September, and Ukraine will present its oral arguments on 19 and 27 September. On 20 September, 32 states are scheduled to make their statements.

As a reminder, Ukraine insists that the Kremlin abused the Genocide Convention to invade the country. As evidence, Kyiv cites a number of statements by President Putin, Secretary of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Russian ambassadors to the UN and the EU.

Bohdan Marusyak

All News ›