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Russia Absent At UN Court Hearing On Ukrainian ‘Genocide’

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Russia Absent At UN Court Hearing On Ukrainian 'Genocide'

Russia Absent At UN Court Hearing On Ukrainian ‘Genocide’.

Ukraine requested an emergency order from the UN’s top court on Monday to cease hostilities on its soil.

It claimed that Russia, which had boycotted the hearing, had used a misunderstanding of genocide legislation to legitimize its invasion.

The hearing was held without Russia’s legal counsel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“The fact that Russia’s seats are empty speaks loudly. They are not here in this court of law: they are on a battlefield waging an aggressive war against my country,’’ Ukrainian envoy Anton Korynevych said.

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The court expressed sadness at Russia’s absence.

The court said it will begin discussions and rule “as quickly as feasible” after Ukraine presented its arguments on Monday.

Countries typically, although not always, obey the court’s legally binding orders.

A request for response from the Russian Embassy in the Netherlands was not returned.

Following the session, Korynevych stated that Russia’s absence would have no impact on the proceedings and that Moscow would be bound by any court rulings.

“They need to listen and they must listen to the court, under international law,’’ he told reporters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia’s “special military action is needed to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide’’, meaning those whose first or only language is Russian in Eastern Ukraine.

Russian-backed separatists have fought Ukrainian forces in two eastern breakaway regions of the country since 2014, with some 15,000 people killed, according to the government in Kyiv.

A leading association of genocide scholars has backed Ukraine and Western powers’ view that Russia was misappropriating the term genocide to describe the treatment of Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.

“There is absolutely no evidence that there is a genocide going on in Ukraine,’’ Melanie O’Brien, president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, told Reuters.

Russia’s new invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, while Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in the assault.The official UN civilian death toll is 406, including 27 children, although officials say the true toll is probably higher.

The case centres on the interpretation of a 1948 treaty on the prevention of genocide, signed by both countries.

The treaty names the ICJ as the forum for resolving disputes between signatories.

Kyiv’s legal team stressed that Moscow was violating and abusing the treaty by using it as a justification for war.

The world was witnessing Russia kill civilians with indiscriminate attacks, Oksana Zolotaryova of the Ukrainian foreign ministry, told the court.

“We don’t know yet the true number of Ukrainians that Russia has murdered in the past 11 days.

“We can only guess how many more will be murdered in the next 11 days if this senseless aggression does not stop,’’ she said, as she asked the court to grant the provisional measures.

The ICJ is the highest court for resolving disputes between states, and while cases there usually take years, it has a fast-track procedure to look at requests for provisional measures, to prevent a situation from worsening.

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