International Law

Russia is no-show at international court hearing on Ukraine invasion

  • Print

shutterstock_International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice courtroom, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations located at the Hague. Images from Shutterstock.

Russia has declined to participate in a hearing before the International Court of Justice on its invasion of Russia.

Lawyers for Covington & Burling argued for Ukraine on Monday, along with Harold Hongju Koh, a professor at Yale Law School, and Jean-Marc Thouvenin, a professor at Paris-Nanterre University, reports.

The Associated Press and Reuters also have coverage.

The tragedy unfolding in Ukraine “is precisely what our modern international legal system was designed to prevent,” Koh told the 15 judges on the United Nations court Monday. “This case has become much bigger than just Ukraine versus Russia. It has become a test of who will prevail—Russia or the post-war international legal order.”

Ukraine contends that Russia made “a nonsensical and utterly unsupported claim” of Ukrainian genocide in its eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk to justify its invasion. Ukraine wants the court to resolve disagreements over the alleged acts of genocide and Russia’s justification for military action.

United States and Ukraine flags Related article from “White House should give temporary protected status to Ukrainian refugees and immigrants, ABA president urges”

Ukraine says the U.N. court has jurisdiction to resolve the disputes involving the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The treaty has been signed by Ukraine and Russia.

Ukraine wants the court to order Russia to stop the fighting through interim “provisional measures.” If Russia doesn’t comply, judges can ask the United Nations Security Council to take action, but Russia has a council veto, said Terry Gill, a professor of military law at the University of Amsterdam, who spoke with the AP.

Gill saw a “zero” chance that the fighting will stop.

Ukrainian envoy Anton Korynevych noted Russia’s refusal to participate in the hearing.

“The fact that Russia’s seats are empty speaks loudly. They are not here in this court of law: they are on a battlefield waging an aggressive war against my country,” Korynevych said, according to Reuters.

See also: “Ukrainian bar leaders share experience on the ground amid Russian invasion” “Law firms drop some Russian clients following sanctions for Ukraine invasion”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.