UN’s top court will rule Friday on its jurisdiction in a Ukraine case over Russia’s genocide claim

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The United Nations’ top court will rule on Friday whether it has jurisdiction in a case brought by Ukraine accusing Russia of violating international law by using a false accusation of genocide as the pretext for its 2022 invasion.

Kyiv launched the case at the International Court of Justice days after the start of the full-scale war in 2022, arguing that Russia breached the 1948 Genocide Convention by wrongly claiming Ukraine was committing genocide against Russian-speaking people in the country.

Russia has flouted an order by The Hague-based court to halt hostilities.

Moscow snubbed hearings over provisional measures in 2022 but filed an objection to the court’s jurisdiction. During hearings in 2023, lawyers for Russia asked the court to toss out the complaint, calling the legal case an “abuse of process.”

Ukraine is not claiming Russia is committing genocide but rather arguing that the false accusation of genocide is enough to violate the 1948 treaty. Kyiv told judges the neighboring countries clearly have a dispute as defined by the convention.

The court on Wednesday will rule on a separate case between Russia and Ukraine. In a complaint filed in 2017, Kyiv says Russia began bankrolling rebels in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and has discriminated against Crimea’s multiethnic community after its annexation of the region.

In that case, brought under an anti-discrimination treaty and a terrorism financing convention, Ukraine has asked the court to order Moscow to pay reparations for attacks and crimes in the region. That would include the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which was shot down by Russia-backed rebels on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

The International Court of Justice captured world attention in recent weeks with a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. Judges issued provisional measures last week calling on Israel to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide in the conflict.

In an interview with The Associated Press last week, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, expressed concern the war in Ukraine was being forgotten. “I think the big difference from last year to this year is that this year, this is not news anymore in the world,” he said.

Latest U.N. figures say 10 million people have been displaced by the war in Ukraine, with more than 10,000 people killed and another 19,000 injured.

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