Press release: Attorney General presents UK intervention in Ukraine case against Russia at International Court of Justice

Attorney Generals Office

September 20
15:07 2023

The Attorney addressed the International Court of Justice alongside 31 other intervening states as part of a case brought by Ukraine against Russia under the Genocide Convention.

The hearing in The Hague is to hear arguments from Russia, Ukraine and the intervening States about whether the Court has jurisdiction to hear the case brought by Ukraine.

Ukraine argues that the Russian Federation falsely claimed that there had been acts of genocide against Russian citizens in certain parts of Ukraine as a pretext for its use of force against the country. It asserts that under the Genocide Convention, Russia is not permitted to falsely allege genocide as a pretext for invading Ukraine.

Attorney General, Victoria Prentis MP, KC said:

Today was an important day for the international rule of law. It was an honour to present the UKs arguments before the International Court of Justice.

The Genocide Convention is an important treaty that obliges States to prevent and punish genocide. As such, it stands as a bulwark against mass atrocity.

Alongside 31 other intervening States, the UK has demonstrated its commitment to the proper interpretation and application of the provisions of that Convention by intervening in this case.

Just weeks after Ukraine instituted proceedings at the International Court of Justice, on 16 March 2022, the Court granted provisional measures ordering Russia to desist from its military operations in Ukraine.

Ukraine is arguing that the provisions of the Genocide Convention are to be interpreted, applied and fulfilled in good faith.

Russia has since objected, arguing that the Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

In the hearing today, the UK made submissions regarding the scope of the Courts jurisdiction under the Genocide Convention, including concerning the requirement of good faith and the fact that the Genocide Convention does not in any circumstances authorise States to commit aggression, war crimes or

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