Home News What can the International Court of Justice concretely do against Russia?

What can the International Court of Justice concretely do against Russia?

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Ukraine appealed to the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Sunday against Russia, asking the court to order Moscow to cease hostilities.

“We demand an urgent decision ordering Russia to cease its military activity, and we expect the hearings to begin next week,” Volodymyr Zelensky wrote yesterday on Twitter.

This decision comes as tension rises a notch in Kiev and several other Ukrainian cities. Yesterday the European Union imposed a salvo of economic and financial sanctions on Russia. The latter immediately reacted by waving the flag of the nuclear threat.

For Volodymyr Zelensky, turning to the International Court of Justice in The Hague could be a way of stopping the Russian invasion. The Ukrainian president uses all the levers at his disposal to obtain a ceasefire, in particular by explaining to the International Court that Russia has falsely used the argument “acts of genocide in Ukraine, against the “pro-Russians””.

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No way to force Russia to lay down its arms

The ICJ could condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, even if the court in The Hague condemns the acts of the power led by Vladimir Putin, it does not have the means to enforce a possible ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops.

This UN body can indeed establish and adjudicate “disputes” between States, but does not have the authority to prevent the holding of military behavior by a country.

In the petition to the ICJ, Ukraine accused Russia of “planning acts of genocide” and of “killing people of Ukrainian nationality and causing serious harm to their physical integrity”.

Volodymyr Zelensky hopes for a consultation this week, while the ICJ has indicated that it gives priority to this type of case over all others.

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