Three More European Nations File to Intervene on Behalf of Ukraine in its Genocide Case against Russia
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
In what has become a substantial outpouring of support for Ukraine, Finland, Estonia, and SpainPoland, filed declarations of intervention in Ukraine’s genocide case against Russia before the International Court of Justice.  Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, the USA, Sweden, France, Romania, Italy, Poland, Denmark and Ireland previously filed similar declarations. Ukraine’s case is in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was made to end an alleged Ukrainian-led genocide in the Donbas region of the country. Ukraine asserts that Russia’s claims are false. Much of the international community views Russia’s claim as a pretext for Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine.
The case deals with the interpretation of provisions of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which could have legal implications for State signatories to the Convention, including Sweden and the other intervenors. In its Declaration, Romania emphasises that the Convention creates erga omnes obligations on State parties to prevent and punish the commission of genocide.
At issue are matters of jurisdiction – i.e., whether the ICJ has proper jurisdiction over the case, as well merits issues - such as the elements of the crime of genocide and the extent of the States’ duties to prevent and punish genocide. The Declarations of France and Romania invoke the international community’s shared interest in the rights and responsibilities enshrined in the Convention. Arguably, given the duties and burdens placed on all States to stamp out genocide wherever it may occur, States that are not signatories to the Genocide Convention may have standing to intervene before the Court on this matter.
While Russia has made unfounded accusations of genocide against Ukraine, investigators and human rights experts continue to uncover evidence that Russia has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide during its invasion and occupation of Ukraine. On March 16, 2022, as a provisional measure, the ICJ ordered Russia to suspend all military activity in Ukraine. Thus far, this order has been summarily ignored by President Putin.
 Allegations of Genocide Under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russia), Declaration of Intervention of the Government of Finland of 22 September 2022. <https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/182/182-20220922-PRE-01-00-EN.pdf>; Allegations of Genocide Under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russia), Declaration of Intervention of the Government of Estonia of 22 September 2022 <https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/182/182-20220922-PRE-02-00-EN.pdf>; Allegations of Genocide Under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russia), Declaration of Intervention of the Kingdom of Spain of 29 September 2022 <https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/182/182-20220929-PRE-01-00-EN.pdf>.