Ukraine Files Suit Against Russia with the ICJ

By Sarah Kuehn, International News Writer

On January 17, Ukraine filed a lawsuit in the highest court of the United Nations to make Russia halt all support for the pro-Russian separatists fighting in the eastern part of Ukraine, as reported by Reuters.

The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine has accused Russia of “acts of terrorism and discrimination in the course of its unlawful aggression” in their filing in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), according to Reuters. Ukraine has also accused Russia of “violating the human rights of millions of Ukraine’s citizens”, and that the annexation of Crimea “brazenly defied the UN Charter, seizing a part of Ukraine’s sovereign territory by military force,” according to Al Jazeera.

Russia has continuously denied sending troops or any military support to eastern Ukraine. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated that it would use all available legal means to defend against the suit.

Though the filing itself has no direct consequence, a finding in Ukraine’s favor could be enforced in national courts and lead to the freezing or seizing of Russian assets, according to Reuters. The ICJ has yet to release any statement regarding the case.

Ukraine has also filed charges against Russia in the International Criminal Court and the European Court of Human Rights challenging Russia’s actions in Ukrainian territory. Ukrainian energy firms Ukrnafta and Stabil have asked for the UN’s Permanent Court of Arbitration for retribution for lost investments when the Crimean peninsula was annexed, according to Reuters.

Russia has stated that Ukraine’s claims were studied and analyzed, but Ukraine had not shown any real interest in dialogue. Russia has also stated that it sought answers from Ukraine about the rights of the ethnic Russian peoples and speakers in Ukraine, however, Ukraine declined to discuss the issue in detail, according to Reuters.

In March of 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula and fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine the next month between pro-Russian Rebels and Ukrainian government forces. Nearly 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, according to Reuters.

Ukraine has accused Russia of violating the Terrorism Financing Convention “by supplying weapons and other forms of assistance to illegal armed groups operating on Ukrainian territory”.

The separatists are accused of many alleged crimes, such as the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014, the bombardment of residential areas in Mariupol and Kramatorsk, and the destruction of a civilian passenger bus near Volnovakha, according to Reuters.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 24th print edition.

Contact Sarah at


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