GAGA – How Russian troops strike at Ukrainian cities with missiles despite a ceasefire announcement to allow civilians to flee some areas, lawyers representing Kyiv and Moscow will meet Monday at the United Nations Supreme Court in a legal attempt to end the devastating war.
The International Court of Justice is opening a two-day hearing at its headquarters, the Palace of Peace, over Ukraine’s request to judges to order Russia to stop its invasion. Ukraine is due to present its arguments on Monday morning, and Russia may respond on Tuesday.
Ukraine has asked the court to order Russia to “immediately suspend military operations” launched on February 24, “which have the stated purpose and purpose of preventing and punishing the declared genocide” in the separatist eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
A decision on the request is expected to be made in a few days, but it remains to be seen whether Russia will comply with any order the court may issue.
If the court ordered a cessation of hostilities, “I think the probability that this will happen is zero,” said Terry Gill, a professor of military law at the University of Amsterdam. He noted that if the country does not comply with a court ruling, judges can appeal to the United Nations Security Council, where Russia has a veto.
The request for so-called interim measures is related to the case brought by Ukraine under the Genocide Convention. Both countries have ratified the 1948 treaty, which has a clause allowing states to refer disputes based on its provisions to a court in The Hague.
Kyiv claims that Moscow’s statements about the genocide of Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk, which President Vladimir Putin used as a basis for his invasion, are fabricated.
“Ukraine strongly denies that such genocide took place and that the Russian Federation has legal grounds to take action in and against Ukraine to prevent and punish genocide,” the country’s lawsuit said.
The nine-page legal documentation of Ukraine, which initiates the case, claims that “Russia has overturned the Genocide Convention” by making a false statement. It adds that “Russia’s lies are all the more insulting and ironic, because it seems that Russia is planning acts of genocide in Ukraine.”
The success of Ukraine’s request will depend on whether the court recognizes that it has “acceptable jurisdiction” in the case, which is no guarantee that the court will eventually proceed with the lawsuit. Cases in the International Court of Justice usually take years.
Regardless of the results of Monday and Tuesday’s hearings, they give Ukraine another platform to complain about Moscow’s invasion.
“I think it’s part of an overall diplomatic strategy to try to put maximum pressure on Russia,” Gil said.
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