In a preliminary decision that is binding but may be difficult to enforce, the United Nations’ highest court called on Russia to immediately halt its invasion of Ukraine.
Although the rulings 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 shall immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on Feb 24, 2022, on the territory of Ukraine,” the ICJ judges said.
They added that Russia must also ensure that other forces under its control or supported by Moscow should not continue the military operation.
“The Court is acutely aware of the extent of the human tragedy that is taking place in Ukraine and is deeply concerned about the continuing loss of life and human suffering. The Court is profoundly concerned about the use of force by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, which raises very serious issues of international law,” Donoghue said.
The ICJ judges voted 13-2 in favor of the ruling. The two opposing judges hail from Russia and China.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the ICJ’s decision in a tweet, saying it amounted to what he called a “complete victory” for Ukraine in its case against Russia. He warned that ignoring the court’s order would isolate Russia even further.
Kyiv filed its case to the ICJ days after Russia’s invasion last month, challenging Russia’s claim they aimed to halt the genocide of pro-Russian separatists there.
Russian representatives did not attend the court’s opening hearing last week. But Moscow argued the ICJ should not impose any measures and had no jurisdiction.