Ukraine denounces Russia as "terrorist state" at World Court hearing

    WORLD  06 June 2023 - 20:32

    Ukraine declared Russia a terrorist state at the top UN court on June 6, as hearings in a case involving Moscow’s support for pro-Russian rebels accused of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014.

    It was the first time Ukrainian and Russian attorneys had met in the International Court of Justice, often known as the World Court, since Moscow started a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Each party dispatched legal teams consisting of dozens of representatives, Reuters reports.

    A panel of 16 judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) began hearing Ukraine’s accusation that Moscow violated a UN anti-terrorism treaty by arming and supporting pro-Russian militants who, international investigators found, shot down the plane over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

    Ukraine has also urged the Hague-based court to force Russia to stop allegedly discriminating against the Crimean Tatar ethnic community in the Ukrainian peninsula, which Russia invaded in 2014.

    In his opening remarks, Ukrainian Ambassador-at-large Anton Korynevych mentioned the devastation of the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in Ukraine’s southern Kherson area, which had burst hours before.

    “Russia cannot defeat us on the battlefield, so it targets civilian infrastructure to try to freeze us into submission,” Korynevych told hearings. “Just today Russia blew up a major dam … causing significant civilian evacuations, ecological damages and threatening the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.”

    He added that “Russia’s actions are the actions of a terrorist state.”

    Two Russians and a Ukrainian separatist were convicted by a Dutch court of murder in the case of flight MH17, which was shot down by a Russian-made missile on 17 July 2014 over pro-Russian separatist-held eastern Ukraine.

    According to Kyiv, Russia blew up the dam. Some Russian-installed authorities claim it was destroyed by Ukrainian bombardment, while others claim it blew up on its own.



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