The public hearing of a suit against Greece brought by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) began at the International Court of Justice at The Hague on Monday. FYROM filed its suit in November 2008, claiming that Greece violated the 1995 Interim Agreement when it objected to NATO extending a membership invitation to FYROM at the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008.

The public hearings will continue until March 30 and be conducted in two rounds, during which both sides will have an opportunity to present their positions and legal arguments in detail.

Greece's representatives before the court will be Ambassador George Savvaidis and foreign ministry legal advisor Maria Telalian, while FYROM will be represented by its foreign minister Antonio Milososki and Ambassador Dimitrov.

The Greek side has also put together a strong legal team, made up of Greek and foreign experts in international law.

The public hearings will be broadcast live through the international court's website

The court itself will have a panel of 15 judges elected by the United Nations General Assembly and two ad hoc judges, one appointed by Greece and the other by FYROM.

Greece's ad hoc judge will be Athens University professor Emmanuel Roucounas, while FYROM has appointed Budislav Vukas.

The court is not expected to issue its ruling for several months.