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International Court of Justice will hold public hearings on allegations of genocide in Ukraine

Associated Press/Alexander Zemlianichenko

The International Court of Justice (IJC) will hold public hearings next week on allegations of genocide in Ukraine, as Russia continues its invasion of the country.

In a statement on Tuesday, the IJC said it will hold public hearings on March 7 and March 8 “concerning Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russian Federation).”

March 7 will feature the oral argument of Ukraine, and March 8 will be for the Russian Federation. The proceedings will take place at the Peace Palace in The Hague.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Sunday that Ukraine had submitted an application against Russia to the IJC. 

“Russia must be held accountable for manipulating the notion of genocide to justify aggression,” Zelensky wrote in a tweet.

In the application, filed on Saturday, Ukraine said Russia “falsely claimed that acts of genocide have occurred” in the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, both of which Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized as independent last week.

Ukraine also claimed that Russia “declared and implemented a ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine with the express purpose of preventing and punishing purported acts of genocide that have no basis in fact.”

“On the basis of this false allegation, Russia is now engaged in a military invasion of Ukraine involving grave and widespread violations of the human rights of the Ukrainian people,” Ukraine added.

Additionally, Ukraine said it “emphatically denies that any such genocide has occurred and brings this Application to establish that Russia has no lawful basis to take action in and against Ukraine for the purpose of preventing and punishing any purported genocide.”

The IJC is the United Nations’s principal judicial arm. It is relied on to settle international legal disputes referred by states. The body is made up of 15 judges who are elected to nine-year terms by the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council. 

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