On 2 February 2024, the World Court delivered judgment on the Russian Federation’s preliminary objections to the Court’s jurisdiction and to the admissibility of Ukraine’s claims under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimea of Genocide (the “Genocide Convention”).
The Court rejected almost all of Russia’s objections, ruling that Ukraine’s case will move forward.
Ukraine commenced these proceedings just two days after Russia’s full-scale invasion. Ukraine’s case concerns Russia’s reliance on false allegations of genocide to justify Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 that constitutes a gross abuse and violation of the most fundamental of human rights treaties — the Genocide Convention.
In a landmark ruling on 16 March 2022, the Court ordered Russia to “immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on February 24, 2022 in the territory of Ukraine” and also to ‘ensure that any military or irregular armed units which may be directed or supported by it, as well as any organizations and persons which may be subject to its control or direction, take no steps in furtherance of the military operations‘. This Order is still obligatory for Russia, so that Russia’s failure to comply with the Court’s Order is a further violation of international law.
An unprecedented 32 States Parties to the Genocide Convention have intervened in the case to present their views on the interpretation of the Convention to the Court. All of the interveners interpreted the Convention to provide for ICJ jurisdiction over Ukraine’s claims.
On 2 February 2024, the judgment of the World Court has become an important step towards holding Russia to account for its many violations of international law.