© Reuters. A view shows a residential building damaged by shelling, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this photo released March 16, 2022. State level Ukraine / Handout via REUTERS
By Stephanie van den Berg
THE HAGUE (Reuters) – The United Nations’ highest court on interstate disputes ordered Russia on Wednesday to immediately stop its military activities in Ukraine, saying it was “concerned.” profoundly” to Moscow’s use of force.
Although decisions of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are binding, it has no direct means to enforce them, and in the rare past cases states have ignored them.
“The Russian Federation will immediately suspend military operations beginning on 24 February 2022 on the territory of Ukraine,” the ICJ judges said in their February 13 decision.
They added that Russia must also ensure that other forces under its control or supported by Moscow do not resume military operations.
Ukraine filed its case with the ICJ shortly after the Russian invasion began on February 24, saying Moscow’s justification that it was acting to prevent a genocide in eastern Ukraine , is baseless.
In addition to dismissing the reasons for the invasion, Kyiv also demanded urgent “temporary” measures against Russia to stop the violence before the case was fully heard. Those measures were enacted on Wednesday.
During hearings earlier this month, Ukraine said there was no threat of genocide in eastern Ukraine and that the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention, which both countries are signatories to, does not allow a war. Invasion can be prevented.
Ukrainian government forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine since 2014. Kyiv and its Western allies have denied Moscow’s claims of any genocide. aimed at Russian speakers there.
Russia said it had skipped hearings at the ICJ, also known as the World Court, “because of the apparent absurdity of the case”. It then filed a written argument that the court should not have imposed any measure.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday welcomed the ICJ’s ruling on the emergency orders as “a complete victory” in the case against Russia.
“The (ICJ) order is binding under international law. Russia must comply immediately. Ignoring the order will further isolate Russia,” Zelenskiy said on Twitter (NYSE:).
Reading Wednesday’s ruling, presiding judge Joan Donoghue said the court was “deeply concerned that the Russian Federation’s use of force in Ukraine raises very serious problems of international law”.
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