‘It’s an abuse of process’: Hearing at United Nation’s highest court begins
Ukraine’s legal battle against Russia has resumed at the United Nations’ highest court.
The case alleges Moscow abused the Genocide Convention to justify its invasion last year.
But Russia has told the court the case is an “abuse of process” and it needs to be thrown out.
The leader of Moscow’s legal team at the International Court of Justice, Gennady Kuzmin, told the 16-judge panel that Ukraine’s case “is hopelessly flawed and at odds with the longstanding jurisprudence of this court”.
He said Ukraine’s filing is “a manifest disregard of the proper administration of justice and constitutes an abuse of process”.
In his opening speech, Mr Kuzmin echoed Russian claims about what he called “neo-Nazis” in Kyiv and drew parallels between Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the 1999 Nato airstrikes on Serbia aimed at halting Belgrade’s military campaign in Kosovo.
Kyiv’s case filed shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine argues that the attack was based on false claims of acts of genocide in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine and alleges that Moscow was planning genocidal acts in Ukraine.
Ukraine claimed “Russia has turned the Genocide Convention on its head – making a false claim of genocide as a basis for actions on its part that constitute grave violations of the human rights of millions of people across Ukraine”.
Lawyers for Russia insist that the court does not have jurisdiction and the Genocide Convention cannot be used to regulate use of force by nations.
Ukraine’s legal team will respond tomorrow and urge judges to press ahead to hearings on the substance of its claims.