The Hague: The UN’s top court gave the green light Friday to Ukraine’s western allies to support it in its legal fight against Russia. Ukraine dragged Moscow to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague shortly after the February 2022 invasion.
Judges last year issued a preliminary order telling Moscow to suspend its military operations in Ukraine. Many of Ukraine’s allies then asked to be allowed to ‘intervene’ in the case, in which Kyiv accuses Moscow of falsely using allegations of genocide in eastern Ukraine to justify its invasion, and of planning genocide itself.
Judges issued an order Friday clearing 32 countries including France, Britain and Germany to support Ukraine. ‘The court concludes that the declarations of intervention filed in this case… are admissible’, the court said. However, the ICJ dismissed a bid by the United States to join the case. The allies’ interventions mainly concern whether the ICJ has jurisdiction in the case, a process that could take months or even years. Ukraine has 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.
The ICJ’s order in March last year that Russia must stop its invasion was just a preliminary ruling, pending a decision on whether it is competent to deal with it or not. The ICJ was created after World War II to deal with disputes between UN member states. Its decisions are binding although it has no means to enforce them. The ruling comes as the court is dealing with a separate case filed by Ukraine alleging that Russia backed separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine for years before the invasion.