July 15, 2024

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Ukraine’s international allies filed into the United Nations’ top court on Wednesday to support Kyiv’s case against Russia that alleges Moscow twisted the genocide convention to manufacture a pretext for its invasion last year.

The hearing came a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the U.N. General Assembly in New York that Russia is “weaponizing” everything from food and energy to abducted children in its war against Ukraine — and warned world leaders that the same could happen to them.

An unprecedented 32 states were making brief legal arguments Wednesday to the 16-judge panel at the International Court of Justice, which is holding hearings into Moscow’s assertions that the World Court does not have jurisdiction and should throw out Ukraine’s case.

Kyiv filed its case two days after Russia invaded Ukraine. It argues that the attack was based on false claims by Russia of acts of genocide in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine insists the court has jurisdiction. Kyiv’s allies supported that stance Wednesday.

Legal representatives including Australian Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue told judges that the case is about a dispute between Ukraine and Russia over the 1948 Genocide Convention that should be settled by the court.

While most of the national presentations in the court’s ornate Great Hall of Justice were dry legal arguments, Canada’s representative, Alan Kessel, underscored what was at stake.

“Canada and the Netherlands recall the profound consequences of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, which has resulted in immense human suffering,” Kessel said. “It is against this backdrop that we intervene as part of our commitment to the protection and promotion of the rules-based international order and the peaceful settlement of disputes in which this court plays a vital role.”

The court’s panel of international judges will likely take weeks or months to reach a decision on whether the case can proceed. If it does, a final ruling could still be years away.

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Find AP’s stories about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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