Ukraine Files Case Against Russia at the International Court of Justice

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing his annual press conference on December 17, 2020. (file photo) Photo: Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing his annual press conference on December 17, 2020. (file photo) Photo: Kremlin

On February 26, 2022, Ukraine filed an application at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to initiate proceedings against the Russian Federation under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin had declared a war on Ukraine on February 24 and demanded Kyiv forces in Ukraine to surrender. Putin decided to attack Ukraine after he recognized two self-proclaimed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine.

According to a statement issued on March 1 by the U.S. Department of State, Ukraine seeks to address Russia’s groundless claims that genocide has occurred in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine and establish that Russia has no lawful basis to take military action on the basis of those false claims. 

Ukraine has also requested the ICJ exercise its authority to indicate provisional measures to preserve Ukraine’s rights and limit the ongoing and irreparable harm to the Ukrainian people as well as Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

“As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the ICJ has a vital role to play in the peaceful settlement of disputes,” said Ned Price, U.S. State Department Spokesperson in the statement.

Ukraine also requested the Court call upon Russia to halt immediately all military actions in Ukraine pending the Court’s review. In response to that request, according to the U.S. State Department, the Court called on the Russian Federation to act in a manner that would allow any provisional measures ordered by the Court to have an actual impact. This is another clear indication that Russia must cease its military activities in Ukraine.

“Considering the gravity of the crisis in Ukraine that has resulted from Russia’s unprovoked invasion, we trust the Court is taking into consideration the dire circumstances and rapidly unfolding events and hope that it will act with utmost urgency on Ukraine’s request for provisional measures,” the U.S. statement added.

According to the statement, each day that Russia is unconstrained in its aggression is a day that brings more violence, suffering, death, and destruction in Ukraine. The United States says it stands with the people of Ukraine.

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Rakesh Raman