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International Court of Justice orders Russia to immediately suspend invasion of Ukraine, order passed by 13-2 votes

In its plea before the ICJ, Ukraine had alleged that Russia had justified the invasion of Ukraine by falsely claiming genocide in Luhansk and Donets in eastern Ukraine

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Russia to immediately suspend the invasion of Ukraine. The Court ordered on 16th March 2022 that both parties must refrain from any acts which may aggravate the dispute.

The ICJ order against Russia was passed by 13-2 votes. The two dissenting votes were cast by the judges from Russia and China, the Indian judge at ICJ Justice Dalveer Bhandari voted in favour of the verdict asking Russia to stop its military operations in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the ICJ decision by tweeting, “Ukraine gained a complete victory in its case against Russia at the International Court of Justice. The ICJ has ordered to immediately stop the invasion. The order is binding under international law. Russia must comply immediately. Ignoring the order will isolate Russia even further.”

In its order passed, the court said, “The Russian Federation, pending the final decision in the case, must immediately suspend the military operations it commenced in the territory of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.”

It further said, “The Court further indicated that any military or irregular armed units which may be directed or supported by Russia, as well as any organizations and persons which may be subject to its control, direction or influence, take no steps in furtherance of the military operations.”

On 7th March 2022, the ICJ had heard Ukraine’s application seeking a declaration that the claims of genocide as alleged by Russia within Ukrainian areas of Luhansk and Donetsk are false. Russia had defended its military action on this ground. Ukraine also sought reparations for damages caused by Russian military action.

The ICJ has said in its order, “At the present stage, Court is not going to weigh on the evidence on whether Russia’s allegations that there is an alleged genocide in Ukraine is true.”

It also added, “The Russian Federation shall provide a report to the Court on measures taken to implement the Court’s Order on Provisional Measures one week after such Order and then on a regular basis to be fixed by the Court.”

In its plea before the ICJ, Ukraine had alleged that Russia had justified the invasion of Ukraine by falsely alleging genocide in Luhansk and Donets in eastern Ukraine. While Russia had claimed it was acting in self-defence, Ukraine had argued that the Genocide Convention does not allow an invasion of a country to prevent a genocide. Both Russia and Ukraine are signatories of this convention.

While Russia had claimed that ICJ does not have jurisdiction over the matter, the court disagreed, and said Ukraine’s request falls under its jurisdiction.

It is notable that Russia did not attend the oral hearings in the ICJ, but had submitted written submissions. The Court expressed its regret at the decision of the Russian govt to not participate in the oral proceedings before the ICJ. “The non-appearance of a party has a negative impact on the sound administration of justice as it deprives the Court of assistance a party could have provided to it,” the Court said.

While the verdicts of International Court of Justice are binding on the member states, it does not have any executive means to enforce them. Therefore, it is to be seen whether Russia suspends its military activity in Ukraine or not after this verdict.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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