Australia, Spain file interventions in ICJ investigation of alleged Russian genocide in Ukraine

The Commonwealth of Australia Friday filed adeclarations of intervention in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) case of Ukraine v. Russian Federation. The Kingdom of Spain filed a declaration of intervention on Thursday. Under Article 63 of the Statute of the Court, states may intervene in the proceedings if the outcome will bind them. Article 62 of the ICJ Statute stipulates that a state may request to intervene in a contentious case if it “consider[s] that it has an interest of a legal nature which may be affected by the decision in the case.” 

In its declaration, Australia states that it was “one of the first countries to ratify the Genocide Convention in 1949” and it has since been “a steadfast supporter of the establishment and mandate of international courts and tribunals with jurisdiction over genocide and other serious international crimes.” Spain similarly noted that “the Genocide Convention is of utmost importance to prevent and punish genocide,” and that “the rights and obligations enshrined by the Convention are owed to the international community as a whole.”

Human rights experts worldwide have accused Russia of genocide during its invasion of Ukraine. Just last week, Ukraine’s Ministry of the Defense discovered a gravesite containing more than 440 unmarked graves in Izyum. The ICC has deployed a team of 42 forensics and investigative experts to Ukraine to investigate. Amnesty International reports that more than 14 million people have been uprooted by the conflict, and close to six million have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees.

Last week, the Republic of Finland also filed an intervention, joining Poland, Denmark, Italy, FranceRomaniaSweden, the United States of America, the United KingdomNew ZealandGermanyLithuania and Latvia.