Australian officials will take a stand in support of Ukraine at the United Nations’ highest court as the Balkan country challenges Russia’s claims its invasion was carried out to prevent genocide.
Days after Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Kyiv filed a case to the International Court of Justice alleging Russian leaders were abusing international law by using false claims of genocide in eastern Ukraine to justify its invasion.
Russian representatives have continued to accuse Ukraine of committing genocide.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong says Russia is in breach of the UN charter, which protects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of every nation.
“Nothing Russia says or does can distract from that fact,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday (AEST).
“Russia has been active in its disinformation and misinformation about this war … and … what we have seen is countries including Ukraine pushing back on that.”
She added the fact Russian President Vladimir Putin had engaged with North Korean dictator and global pariah Kim Jong-un “says something about how desperate he is”.
Officials from 32 countries are expected to deliver interventions in support of Ukraine at The Hague’s Peace Palace.
Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue will deliver Australia’s intervention on Wednesday night (AEST) where he will argue the court has jurisdiction to hear the case.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says false allegations of genocide undermine the rules-based international order and Mr Donaghue’s intervention “demonstrates Australia’s unwavering commitment to upholding fundamental rules of international law and the integrity of the Genocide Convention”.
Australian officials have continued to call on Russia to immediately withdraw its military forces from Ukraine, in compliance with the International Court of Justice’s March 2022 order.
Since the invasion, Australia has given Ukraine more than $790 million in aid, including $610 million in military equipment.
Senator Wong is expected to deliver a national statement on climate, development and the country’s commitment to UN reform and preventing conflict.
Kat Wong and Dominic Giannini
(Australian Associated Press)