St Anne’s Fellow, Prof. Antonios Tzanakopoulos, speaks on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus in case brought by Ukraine against Russia at the International Court of Justice

St Anne’s Fellow, Professor Antonios Tzanakopoulos, last week made oral submissions before the International Court of Justice on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus. Cyprus intervened, along with 31 other states, in the case brought by Ukraine against Russia on Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.The Court is composed of 15 judges elected for a nine-year term by the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). The Court has a twofold role: first, to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States; and, second, to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and agencies of the system.

During the hearings, which opened on 18 September 2023, the delegation of the Russian Federation was led by HE Mr Gennady Kuzmin, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of the Russian Federation, HE Mr Alexander Shulgin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and HE Ms Maria Zabolotskaya, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, as Agents. The delegation of Ukraine was led by HE Mr Anton Korynevych, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, as Agent. The Court will now begin its deliberation. The Court’s decision will be delivered at a public sitting, the date of which will be announced in due course.

History of the Proceedings 

On 26 February 2022, Ukraine filed in the Registry of the Court an Application instituting proceedings against the Russian Federation concerning “a dispute . . . relating to the interpretation,
application and fulfilment of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (the “Genocide Convention”). Together with the Application, Ukraine submitted a Request for the indication of provisional measures, to which the court agreed in March. The Court fixed 23 September 2022 and 23 March 2023 as the respective time-limits for the filing of the Memorial of Ukraine and the Counter-Memorial of the Russian Federation. The Memorial of Ukraine was filed on 1 July 2022.

On 3 October 2022, the Russian Federation raised preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Court and to the admissibility of the Application. Consequently, the proceedings on the merits were suspended. By an Order dated 7 October 2022, the Court fixed 3 February 2023 as the time-limit within which Ukraine could present a written statement of its observations and submissions on the preliminary objections raised by the Russian Federation. Ukraine filed its written statement within this time limit.

Between 21 July 2022 and 15 December 2022, 33 States, including Cyprus, filed declarations of intervention in the case. The Court decided that the declarations submitted by 32 States were admissible at the preliminary objections stage of the proceedings. By the same Order, it fixed 5 July 2023 as the time limit for the filing of written observations by those States on the subject-matter of the interventions. Thirty-one intervening States filed written observations within this time limit.

Videos of the oral proceedings and further details about the case are available on the Court’s website: