The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has announced that it will hold hearings into allegations of genocide in Ukraine as Russia continues its unprovoked assault on the sovereign neighboring country.
Public hearings are set for March 7 and 8 “concerning Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russian Federation),” according to the ICJ’s statement.
The court will hear oral arguments from Ukraine on March 7 and from Russia on March 8 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, the UN’s highest court.
Just days after the start of the Russian invasion, Ukraine filed suit against Russia, rejecting Moscow’s claim that it invaded its neighbor to prevent genocide and asking judges to order an immediate halt to Russian military operations.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has asserted that Ukraine committed genocide in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine and that the invasion was therefore justified to end it.
In a filing in which it dismissed the genocide allegation, Ukraine asked judges to order “provisional measures” to protect Ukraine.
The ICJ is the UN’s court for resolving disputes between nations. Kyiv is saying the two sides have a dispute over the meaning of the 1948 Genocide Convention, a treaty they have both signed.
It asked the court to rule on the disagreement over “the existence of acts of genocide” and Russia’s claim to legal authority to take military action in and against Ukraine.
Cases before the highest UN court generally take years to go to trial, but hearings on provisional measures have been held within weeks of a filing.
Ukraine asked judges to order Russia to “immediately suspend the military operations which commenced on February 24, 2022, that have as their stated purpose and objective the prevention and punishment of a claimed genocide in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine.”