Estonia submits ICJ declaration over Russian genocide in Ukraine

The Peace Palace in The Hague, seat of the ICJ.
The Peace Palace in The Hague, seat of the ICJ. Source: Ben Bender / Wikimedia Commons

Estonia has formally submitted a declaration of intervention to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in relation to Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, and more specifically, Russia's non-compliance with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said that: "Estonia, along with other parties to the Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, would like to intervene in the dispute between Ukraine and Russia because Russia's aggression on the pretext of preventing and punishing genocide has seriously undermined the meaning of such a horrible crime as genocide,", adding that the court must give an assessment on Russia's actions and false accusations.

Ukraine recoursed to the ICJ, located in the Hague, two days after the Russian invasion on February 24, citing Russian claims of Ukraininan genocide committed in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, in the east of Ukraine, as not being based in fact – a rejection Minister Reinsalu reiterates.

This in effect made Russia's invasion illegal under international law, though, since representatives of the Russian Federation did not attend an ICJ hearing on March 7, nor did Russia comply with an ICJ interim measure of March 16 calling for a halt to Russian aggression in Ukraine, Estonia has now approached the ICJ with the declaration of intervention, as have the US, the UK, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, France, New Zealand, Romania and Sweden.

Like the International Criminal Court, the ICJ is located in The Hague, and settles disputes between states in accordance with international law

It is one of six UN principal organs, the others being the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretariat, the UN Trusteeship Council, the UN Economic and Social Council and the UN Security Council. Estonia held a seat on the latter body 2020-2021.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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