The International Court of Justice, the UN’s highest court, opened two weeks of hearings on Monday between Ukraine and Russia over allegations of financing of terrorism, including the downing of MH17, in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
Kyiv filed a complaint with the Hague-based court in 2017, accusing Moscow of violating international law by supporting separatists and annexing the Crimean Peninsula.
“Russia’s actions are the actions of a terrorist state, an aggressor,” said Anton Korynevych, a top Ukrainian diplomat who is representing his country before the court.
Ukraine says Russia has failed to meet its obligations under international law by violating two treaties, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, or ICSFT, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, CERD.
Kyiv says that by funding the separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine, including members of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, it is responsible for the acts of violence they committed.
In 2019, the court ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear the case.
“The DPR had no legal authority to fire weapons in Ukraine,” lawyer David Zionts told judges, citing the decision by The Hague District Court last year to convict three men for the MH17 tragedy.
Three of the four men on trial were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison for supplying the weapon that shot down the passenger airline as it flew over Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 passengers on board were killed. None of the men are in Dutch custody.
Ukraine has complained to the same court over the full-scale invasion as well. In February 2022, the court ordered Moscow to cease hostilities, a demand Russia has ignored.
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