World Court to weigh opinion of 32 nations in Ukraine genocide case

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will allow 32 states to submit written opinions in a case in which Ukraine accused Russia of falsely applying genocide law to justify its invasion of its neighbour.

The U.N.’s top court in a statement released on Friday said countries had until July 5 to give their opinions on the case.

The ICJ in a preliminary decision in the case in March last year ordered Russia to cease military actions in Ukraine immediately.

The court’s rulings are binding but it has no direct means of enforcing them.

Ukraine filed its case shortly after Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24, 2022, saying Russia’s apparent justification – that it was acting to prevent a genocide in Eastern Ukraine – was unfounded.

Ukraine at the hearings last year said there was no threat of genocide in Eastern Ukraine, and the United Nations’ 1948 Genocide Convention, which both countries have signed, does not allow an invasion to prevent one.

Russia, which describes the invasion as a “special military operation,” skipped the hearings last year and called the lawsuit “absurd.”

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Mark Porter)