The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Ukraine will not commit genocide in eastern Ukraine, as Russia claimed as a pretext for attacking its smaller neighbor. Ukraine brought the case to the ICJ after Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
The judges found the court had jurisdiction to hear only a small part of the original case, threw out a request by Ukraine to rule on whether the Russian invasion violated the 1948 Genocide Convention. Instead, the panel of 16 judges will rule at a later stage on whether Ukraine committed genocide in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of eastern Ukraine now occupied by Russia.
Ukraine’s representative Anton Korynevych emphasized the importance of the court’s decision and the emergency order by the court in March 2022, which ordered Russia to halt its military operations in Ukraine. The court’s rulings are final and legally binding, but it has no way to enforce them, and some states, like Russia, have ignored them.
In September last year, lawyers for Moscow urged the judges to throw out the entire case, but the judges granted some of Russia’s objections but allowed Ukraine’s request for the court to rule that there was no “credible evidence that Ukraine is committing genocide in violation of the Genocide Convention” in eastern Ukraine.