The International Court of Justice has ordered Russia to cease military operations in Ukraine

Ukraine presents its case shortly after the Russian invasion begins on February 24 (File)


The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Tuesday ordered Russia to immediately cease military action in Ukraine in a preliminary ruling in a lawsuit filed by Kiev.

“The Russian Federation will immediately suspend military operations in Ukraine on February 24, 2022,” a 13-2 UN High Court judge ruled in a 13-2 decision.

Judges added that Russia must ensure that it is under its control or that other Moscow-assisted forces do not continue the military operation.

Although the court’s rulings are binding, it has no direct way to enforce them and in rare cases countries have ignored them in the past.

Ukraine filed its lawsuit shortly after the Russian invasion began on February 24, citing apparent justifications that Russia was acting to prevent a genocide in eastern Ukraine, saying it was baseless.

In hearings, Ukraine said there were no threats of genocide in Eastern Ukraine, and the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention, signed by both countries, did not allow for the prevention of an invasion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the invasion as a “special military action” needed to “protect people who have suffered persecution and genocide” – that is, those whose first or only language is Russian – in eastern Ukraine.

Russia said it had skipped the World Court of Justice ruling on March 7 “because of the apparent absurdity of the case.”

However, Moscow submitted a written document to the court stating that the ICJ should not impose any measures.

Russia has argued that Putin’s use of the word “genocide” does not automatically mean that his actions are based on the Genocide Agreement. Without a dispute over the interpretation of the treaty, the court has no jurisdiction, Russia has argued.

But President Joan Donoghue has said that the court has enough information that the two countries do not agree on the interpretation of the Genocide Agreement in order to make a preliminary ruling. The actual jurisdiction would be decided later.

In an urgent situation like the conflict in Ukraine, the court can order emergency measures in a few days, even before deciding whether it has jurisdiction in a case. This usually takes many months, and the decision on the actual merits of a case takes years.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a union feed.)


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