International Court of Justice Orders Russia to Halt Invasion of Ukraine

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on March 16 ordered Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine, noting that they were “profoundly concerned” by the use of force.

With a vote of 13 to two, the top court of the United Nations (UN) ruled that Russia “shall immediately suspend the military operations” that it began on Feb. 24 in Ukraine.

The Hague-based court also ruled with 13 votes to two that Russia “shall ensure that any military or irregular armed units, which may be directed or supported by it, as well as any organizations and persons which may be subject to its control or direction, take no steps in furtherance of the military operations referred to in point.”

Those who voted against both rulings were Vice President Kirill Gevorgian of Russia and Judge Xue Hanqin of China.

Unanimously, ICJ voted that both parties must refrain from any action that might “aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve.”

The rulings, which are the first such verdicts handed down by the court, are binding. However, ICJ has no direct means of enforcing them.

The orders were in response to a suit filed by Ukraine, accusing Russia of unsupported claims that Ukrainian forces were committing genocide in Russian-backed separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk to justify its invasion.

ICJ ordered the rulings pending the final decision in the case.

UN Chief Antonio Guterres said that the ruling “fully reinforces my repeated appeals for peace.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the ruling “a complete victory.”

“Russia must comply immediately. Ignoring the order will isolate Russia even further,” Zelensky also said.

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