ICJ to rule Wednesday in dispute over genocide definition between Russia and Ukraine

March 15 (UPI) -- The International Court of Justice said it will rule Wednesday in a civil case concerning Russia's allegation that Ukraine has been committing genocide in two separatist regions within its borders.

The Hague in a statement said the hearing will take place Wednesday at 4 p.m. when president of the court, Judge Joan E. Donoghue, will deliver the court's decision.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only members of the court and representatives of the involved parties will be present in the court room while members of the public and the media will be able to watch the hearing via online streaming.

The case was brought before the court by Ukraine on Feb. 26, two days after Russia invaded the Eastern European nation with the so-called goal of demilitarizing and denazifying Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in announcing what he described as a "special military operation" said its goal is "to protect people who have been bullied for eight years, genocide by the Kyiv regime."

Moscow has for years accused Ukraine of committing genocide in its eastern breakaway regions, and invaded the country late last month on the premise of preventing it from continuing.


Ukraine, which denies the allegation, asked the court to rule in a dispute "relating to the interpretation, application and fulfilment of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide."

In its application, Ukraine said Russia "falsely claimed that acts of genocide have occurred in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine," and that it seeks "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."

In turn, Ukraine accuses Russia of planning acts of genocide within its border.

The court case is separate from related proceedings occurring at the Hague's International Criminal Court where an investigation is being conducted into allegations that Russia has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide in Ukraine as far back as 2013 as well as during Russia's current invasion.

A total of 41 nations have so far called on the court to open investigations into Russia's conduct.

Though both courts are located in the Hague, the International Court of Justice oversees civil disputes between nations while the International Criminal Court prosecutes alleged crimes.

The upcoming ruling at the ICJ follows hearings conducted on March 7 and 8.


"Russia must be held accountable for manipulating the notion of genocide to justify aggression," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Kyiv submitting its application to the court late last month. "We request an urgent decision ordering Russia to cease military activity now."

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