THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Hearings begin Tuesday in the United Nations’ highest court in a case brought by Ukraine against Russia related to Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the arming rebels in eastern Ukraine in the years leading up to the full-scale invasion of Russia in February 2022.
Kyiv wants the International Court of Justice to order Moscow to pay reparations for attacks in the regions, including for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which was shot down by Russian-backed rebels on July 17, 2014, killing the 298 passengers and crew.
Four days of hearings in the court’s large, wood-paneled Hall of Justice open against the backdrop of Europe’s deadliest conflict since World War II raging in Ukraine. Ukraine on Tuesday accused Russian forces of blowing up a major dam and hydroelectric power station in a Moscow-controlled part of the country, threatening massive flooding.
kyiv lawyers will present legal arguments in support of their case on Tuesday, followed by Russia on Thursday. Each side has another opportunity next week to present evidence. Judges should take months to issue a judgment.
The case is one of many legal proceedings against Russia related to Ukraine.
In a separate case brought by Ukraine in the aftermath of Russia’s unlawful invasion, the World Court issued a preliminary order calling on Russia to cease hostilities – a legally binding decision that Moscow ignored.
In this case, Kyiv argues that Russia violated the 1948 Genocide Convention by falsely accusing Ukraine of committing genocide and using that as a pretext for the February 24, 2022 invasion. Moscow argues that the court has no jurisdiction.
A few kilometers (miles) away, at the International Criminal Court, judges have issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for the illegal deportation and transfer of children from Ukraine. Russia is not a member of the Court and does not recognize its jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, a Dutch court last year convicted two Russians and a pro-Moscow Ukrainian for their role in the downing of MH17 and sentenced them in their absence to life imprisonment. Ukraine also has another case against Russia in the International Court of Justice over its invasion last year, and the Netherlands and Ukraine are suing Moscow in the European Court of Human Rights over MH17.
Russia has consistently denied any involvement in the downing of the passenger plane which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a Soviet-era missile over eastern Ukraine.
Tuesday’s hearing relates to a case brought by Kyiv in 2017 over Russia’s arming of rebels in eastern Ukraine and limiting the rights of Tatars and other minorities after its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
In a preliminary ruling, the court ordered Russia to stop limiting “the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to retain its representative institutions.”
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine