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Western allies can join Ukraine in legal fight against Russia, says UN court

Western allies can join Ukraine in legal fight against Russia, says UN court

The Hague: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has given permission to Ukraine's Western allies to support it in its legal fight against Russia. Many allies have asked for permission to "intervene". Now, 32 countries including France, Britain, and Germany can support Kyiv.

However, the US bid to join the case was dismissed.

The 32 nations are now allowed to submit written opinions in the case. They have time till July 5. "The court concludes that the declarations of intervention filed in this case... are admissible," said the court.

The allies are also concerned about whether the ICJ has jurisdiction in the case and that the process could take months or even years. While the court's rulings are binding, it has no direct means of enforcing them.

Shortly after Russia launched the full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukraine filed the case and judges of the UN's top court in March 2022 issued a preliminary order telling Moscow to suspend military operations in Ukraine.

Kyiv has accused Russia of falsely using allegations of genocide in eastern Ukraine to justify its invasion and of planning genocide itself. Ukraine's government also alleged that Russia broached the UN genocide convention by its stated justification early in the war that it invaded to halt what it called genocide in pro-Russian areas of eastern Ukraine. Kyiv has also alleged that Moscow has been backing separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine for years before the war.

At last year's hearing, Ukraine argued that there was no threat of genocide in Eastern Ukraine. And the UN's 1948 Genocide Convention signed by both Russia and Ukraine says that an invasion is not allowed to prevent if there is genocide going on. Russia last year skipped the lawsuit and called the lawsuit "absurd".

At Tuesday's hearing, Kyiv called Russia "a terrorist state". Ukrainian Ambassador-at-Large Anton Korynevych spoke about the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam. "Russia cannot defeat us on the battlefield, so it targets civilian infrastructure to try to freeze us into submission. Russia’s actions are the actions of a terrorist state, an aggressor. But such actions did not appear out of the blue. They are the tragic but logical outcome of the situation we brought to this court’s attention back in 2017," said the diplomat.

Kyiv also called for Russia to stop the discrimination against the Tatar ethnic group in Crimea.

Moscow violated the UN conventions for financing terrorism and racial discrimination as it allegedly equipped and funded pro-Russian forces who shot down the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine killing all 298 passengers and crew on board, argued Kyiv.

The legal teams of both nations presented arguments before a panel of 16 judges. The next hearing will see Ukraine presenting on June 12. Russia will again present on June 14.

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