International Court to Hold Hearings on Alleged Genocide in Ukraine

( On Tuesday, the International Court of Justice announced that would hold hearings next week regarding the allegations that Russia is committing genocide in Ukraine.

In Tuesday’s statement, the ICJ announced it has scheduled public hearings for March 7 and 8 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands. The court will hear oral arguments from Ukraine on the 7th with Russia offering its side the following day.

Ukraine filed suit against Russia on Sunday that rejected the Kremlin’s claim that its invasion was to prevent genocide. The Ukrainians asked the ICJ judges to order an immediate halt to Russia’s military operations.

The International Court of Justice is the United Nation’s court established to resolve disputes between nations. In its filing, Ukraine asked the judges to order “provisional measures” aimed at protecting Ukraine.

Arguing that Ukraine and Russia have a dispute over the meaning of the 1948 Genocide Convention, Kyiv has asked the court to rule on the disagreement over the “existence of acts of genocide” as well as Russia’s claim that it has the legal authority to use military force against Ukraine.

While cases that appear before the ICJ can take years to go to trial, hearings on provisional measures can be held within weeks of an initial filing.

Ukraine argued that Russia’s justification for invading, namely that genocide occurred in Donetsk and Luhansk, was false and had “no basis in fact.” But based on this false accusation, Ukraine said in its filing, Russia is engaged “in a military invasion” that has resulted in “grave and widespread violations” of human rights.

Ukraine also emphatically denied “any such genocide has occurred,” arguing that Russia has no legal basis for its action against Ukraine.

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ukraine filed suit with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, alleging war crimes and crimes against humanity. It wasn’t until December 2020 that the office of the prosecutor announced that it had reason to believe such war crimes occurred in the 2014 conflict. To date, no formal request for a full investigation into Russia’s actions in Crimea has been filed with the judges.

However, on Friday, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan expressed concern over Russia’s current military action in Ukraine and said the court may investigate possible war crimes arising from Russia’s invasion.