August 16, 2022

STOP IT! International Court of Justice orders Putin to cease Ukraine war in emergency ruling

STOP IT! International Court of Justice orders Putin to cease Ukraine war in emergency ruling

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On Wednesday, the International Court of Justice voted on three provisional measures in favor of Ukraine against Russia. Just two days after Russia invaded the sovereign nation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the Court to intervene and deny Vladimir Putin’s claims that genocide was being committed against ethnic Russians in several regions in Ukraine.

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The court sided with Ukraine, handing down a ruling on three provisional measures in the emergency request, pending a final decision.

The first two measures passed with a majority vote of 13-2. They state that:

(1) The Russia Federation shall immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on Feb. 21, 2022 in the territory of Ukraine

and

(2) the Russian Federation 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 director, take no steps in furtherance of the military organizations referred to in point (1) above.

The third, which calls for both Russia and Ukraine to cease fire and refrain from any behaviors that could threaten the Court’s ruling, passed unanimously.

The International Court of Justice’s decision is binding. Unfortunately, it is also unenforceable.

What it does do is create an official record of the Court’s decision and position: that Russia invaded Ukraine unjustifiably and under false pretense.

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Putin, his attorneys, and spokespeople for Russia have snubbed the Court, refusing to appear at ICJ hearings, including this one, dismissing and undermining both the authority of the Court and the validity of the case.

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This is about more than just international law. It’s about respect — or in Putin’s case, the lack thereof, doubling down on his continuing to operate with impunity.

It’s not a complete shock that the two dissenters who voted no against Russia were International Court of Justice Vice President, Kirill Gevorgian of the Russian Federation, and Judge Xue Hanqin of China. The two nations have pledged allegiance to each other with both Presidents maintaining their alliance is unbreakable.

One of the yes votes, however, has raised eyebrows, particularly in his home country. Judge Dalveer Bhandari of India voted with the majority against Russia.

According to WION, India’s premier source of local and international news:

“Justice Bhandari’s vote against Russia does not represent India’s stance on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. It is an independent move.”

India is one of the countries that abstained from the UN vote, possibly due to the strengthening relationship between India and Russia. A 21-day summit was held in December between the two countries that led to multiple agreements — ranging from trade to tech to military defense — being signed.

And, though India is considered the world’s largest democracy, its Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced accusations of complicity in violence against India’s minority Muslim population. Modi has been vocal in his ideology of Hindu nationalism, considering Muslims and Christians to be second-class citizens.

That could explain Modi’s continued support of Putin, despite the atrocities he has committed in Ukraine.

Unenforceable or not, President Zelensky still considered the ruling a win, quickly taking to his Twitter feed not long after it was announced.

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The western world has imposed crippling sanctions on Putin, Russia, and Russia’s elite oligarchs, but, so far, Putin hasn’t budged. Instead, he has doubled, if not tripled down on his aggression, adding in the disregard and disrespect he has shown one of the world’s highest courts. The western world is not optimistic that Putin will follow the order, that he will cease fire and retreat.

But one thing is certain, he has sealed his fate as one not to be trusted, believed, or respected. The International Criminal Court, also located at The Hague, still has a pending investigation into Putin’s actions. Let’s hope, for the sake of Ukraine and its people, its decision will yield more conclusive and enforceable results.

Read the ICJ’s full press release here.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

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Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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