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This marks a positive step forward — Korynevych on the decision of the International Court of Justice

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Estimated Reading Time: 3 min

On January 31, the International Court of Justice issued a ruling on Ukraine’s accusation of Russia violating international conventions on financing terrorism and eliminating all forms of racial discrimination. While the court only partially upheld Ukraine’s claim, this decision is a crucial starting point for further legal proceedings against Russia.

Anton Korynevych, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, discussed this development on Hromadske Radio.

«I consider this a victory because we have the first decision in the history of the International Court of Justice, the world’s most representative court, stating that Russia is a violator of international law. So, this is already a significant achievement. Importantly, this judgment acknowledges Russia’s violation of both conventions under which Ukraine sued it in the International Court of Justice. We can also assert that Russia has violated the third international treaty, the Statute of the International Court of Justice. A separate paragraph in the court’s decision states that the Russian Federation breached the court’s order on provisional measures from April 2017, which are legally binding. Thus, it is a historically significant day because, for the first time, Russia is recognized as a violator not only within the framework of political recommendations but also within the context of an international court decision», — said Korynevych.

Despite its ambiguity, the ICJ’s ruling could serve as a significant impetus for further cases against Russia in international courts.

«Of course, we had more claims; we always proceed from maximalist goals and positions. But we also understand that the International Court of Justice often acts in a way that does not satisfy all the claims of the state. Nevertheless, this is a very important decision, particularly for Ukraine’s future cases against Russia, other international courts, and the ICJ itself. So, we believe that this first case and the judgment provide a good starting point for moving forward.

The decision of the International Court of Justice, as the main judicial body in the world, will undoubtedly be a crucial starting point for other international courts. The hearings in this case in June were the first in all of Ukraine’s cases against Russia, followed by similar hearings in the European Court of Human Rights in December 2023. Therefore, we hope that this case has shown other courts that it is possible and necessary to make decisions that the Russian Federation violates international law and international treaties», — the ambassador stated.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion, claiming, among other things, that genocide was taking place in Ukraine. Consequently, Ukraine filed a lawsuit against Russia for distorting this concept. Today, the International Court of Justice is set to make a preliminary ruling on jurisdiction in this case.

«We are awaiting a decision on jurisdiction. Therefore, the question now is whether the International Court of Justice will proceed with this case. The next stage is the hearing and consideration of the case on the merits, where not only jurisdictional issues will be addressed, but also all the facts, evidence, and testimony regarding Russia’s violations will be presented. This may be the first case against Russia that deals with the full-scale invasion», — said Korynevych.

As a reminder, this lawsuit was filed in January 2017. At that stage of the Ukrainian-Russian war, our side had very limited legal options, leading to a compromise choice of conventions and an ambiguous court decision today.

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