[JURIST] Hearings began on Monday in a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website], with Ukraine asking [application, PDF] the ICJ to bar Russia from "any action which might aggravate" the contentious border conflict between the two nations. Ukraine's filing that started the proceedings alleges that Russia has subjected Ukraine to "increasing degrees of pressure and intimidation." Ukraine alleges that Russia has supported pro-Russia separatist fighters in Ukraine, leading to the "shooting down of flight MH17, with 298 innocent civilians on board," bombing residential areas and peaceful political rallies, and other acts of terrorism. Further, Ukraine alleges that Russia has attempted the "cultural erasure" of Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians.
Russia forcefully annexed the Crimea [JURIST backgrounder], a part of Ukraine, in March 2014, and relations between the two nations have been severely strained. In January Ukraine filed [JURIST report] to begin legal proceedings in the ICJ against Russia. In December the UN reported [JURIST report] that Ukraine citizens were suffering because of failure by both Ukraine and separatist fighters to take precautions, "resulting in damage to schools, kindergartens, and medical facilities" and farmland. Human rights groups reported [JURIST report] in July that Ukraine government officials and pro-Russia separatists have both subjected citizens to arbitrary detentions and torture.