Ukraine asks UN court to hear genocide case despite Russian objection

World Court to hear Russia's objections to Ukraine genocide case

By Stephanie van den Berg

THE HAGUE (Reuters) -Ukraine on Wednesday urged judges at the United Nations' highest court to dismiss Russia's objections and hear in full Kyiv's claim that Moscow abused international law by saying the 2022 invasion was done to stop an alleged genocide.

"Your jurisdiction to resolve the dispute is clear. Your judgment remains urgently needed," Ukraine's representative Oksana Zolotaryova said.

She said Ukraine needed the court's protection because Russia was not respecting international law as laid out in the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Last week Russia urged the ICJ, also known as the World Court, to throw out the case, saying Kyiv's legal arguments were flawed.

Ukraine brought the case before the ICJ days after the Russian invasion on Feb. 24 last year.

Kyiv argues Russia is abusing international law by saying the invasion was justified to stop an alleged genocide in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine says there was no risk of genocide in eastern Ukraine, where it had been fighting Russian-backed forces since 2014.

"Here in The Hague Russia paints itself as a victim. In Ukraine, Russia has continued to show its true colours," Zolotaryova said, listing alleged Russian attacks on civil infrastructure and grain supplies.

Russia has so far ignored a preliminary ruling by the ICJ in March last year which ordered Moscow to stop its military actions and the court has no way of enforcing its decisions. Experts say a full ruling in favour of Ukraine can pave the way for compensation payments.

The court adjourned on Wednesday to deliberate and is expected to rule in several months if the case can be heard on the merits.

Cases before the ICJ usually take several years before there is a final ruling.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alison Williams)