World Court orders Russia to end military operations in Ukraine | world news
By Stephanie van den Berg
THE HAGUE (Reuters) – The United Nations’ highest court for state-to-state disputes on Wednesday ordered Russia to immediately halt its military operations in Ukraine, saying it was “deeply concerned” by Moscow’s use of force.
Although the decisions of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are binding, it has no direct means of enforcing them and in rare cases in the past countries have ignored them.
“The Russian Federation will immediately suspend the military operations it started on February 24, 2022 on the territory of Ukraine,” the ICJ judges said in a 13-2 decision.
They added that Russia must also ensure that other forces under its control or supported by Moscow do not continue the military operation.
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Ukraine filed its case with the ICJ shortly after the Russian invasion began on February 24, claiming that Moscow’s stated justification that it was acting to prevent genocide in eastern Ukraine, was unfounded.
As well as challenging the motives for the invasion, kyiv has also called for emergency “provisional” measures against Russia to end the violence before the case is heard in full. These measures were granted on Wednesday.
In hearings earlier this month, Ukraine said there was no threat of genocide in eastern Ukraine and that the UN’s 1948 Genocide Convention, which both countries signed, does not allow an invasion to prevent one.
Ukrainian government forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region since 2014. kyiv and its Western allies reject Moscow’s claims that any genocide was perpetrated against Russian speakers.
Russia said it skipped hearings at the ICJ, also known as the World Court, “in light of the apparent absurdity of the trial”. He then filed a written document arguing that the court should not impose any measure.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday hailed the ICJ’s decision on emergency measures as “a complete victory” in his 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.
Reading Wednesday’s decision, Presiding Judge Joan Donoghue said the court was “deeply concerned about the use of force by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, which raises very serious questions of international law.”
(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg, Marine Strauss, Natalia Zinets and Max Hunder; Writing by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Michael Perry, Jonathan Oatis and Gareth Jones)
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