Russia a no show at ICJ hearing on Ukraine genocide claim

Outside the Peace Palace on Monday. Photo:

Russia failed to show up for Monday’s fast-track hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which Ukraine has called in an effort to get  the UN body to call a halt to the invasion.

The Russian embassy told the court that no-one would be attending the hearing but did not give a reason. Russia had been due to respond to Ukraine’s claims on Tuesday.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, or what he calls a ‘special military operation’, is to end the ‘genocide of the millions of people who live’ in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine.

Ukraine argues that Russia has misinterpreted the treaty and that there is no evidence genocide has or will take place in eastern Ukraine, describing the claim as ‘nonsensical and utterly unsupported’.

It wants the ICJ 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’.

‘The fact that the Russian seats are empty speaks volumes. They are not here in court: they are on the battlefield, waging an aggressive war against my country,’ said Ukraine’s envoy Anton Korynevych during the morning session.

The court says it regrets Russia’s absence and that it will make a decision on the case ‘as soon as possible’. 

The case centres on a treaty from 1948 covering the prevention of genocide, which was signed by both Russia and Ukraine.

The ICJ is the highest UN court for resolving disputes between states and cases usually take years to resolve. However, it does have a fast-track procedure to look at requests for ‘provisional measures’ as Ukraine has requested.

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