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Ukraine and Russia to face off at World Court over genocide claim -Breaking

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – A General View of The International Court of Justice (ICJ), The Hague, Netherlands on December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Eva Pevier

By Stephanie van den Berg

The Hague (Reuters) – Ukraine is asking the United Nations to issue an emergency decision requiring Russia to halt its invasion. It claims that Moscow’s excuse for the attack was based upon a flawed interpretation of the genocide law.

The court’s decisions are binding, and most countries follow them. However, there is no way for it to enforce them.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia must take “special military actions” to “protect people who’ve been victims of bullying and genocide”, i.e., those whose only or primary language is Russian in the eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine claims that the genocide claim is false, which in turn does not justify invasion.

This case, filed at the World Court (also known as International Court of Justice or ICJ), concerns the interpretation of a 1949 treaty to prevent genocide signed by both countries. As the venue for settling disputes among signatories, the treaty names the ICJ the ICJ.

The International Association of Genocide Scholars executive board issued last week a statement stating that Putin “misappropriated and misused the term “genocide”.

Melanie O’Brien (the president of the association) stated that “there is absolutely no evidence” that genocide is taking place in Ukraine.

The Russian embassy at The Hague has not yet responded to Reuters’ questions regarding the matter.

In a matter days or weeks, the ICJ may order “provisional” measures fast to stop a situation getting worse before it considers whether or not it has jurisdiction.

In 2014, Ukraine applied for provisional measures at the court following Russia’s annexation Crimea. However, the ICJ ruled that neither party should escalate their dispute.

Hearings begin at 10:00 AM (0900 GMT), with Ukraine giving its case. Russia is expected to reply on Tuesday.

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