The ICJ’s order on provisional measures requested by Ukraine

Today the order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on provisional orders requested by Ukraine in its contentious case against Russia was published.

The decisions of the order do not contain anything surprising. The Court has not taken a position on the merits of the application of Ukraine, it has found that prima facie it has jurisdiction, Russia is obligated to cease its military operations, and both parties shall refrain from escalating the situation any further. All other requests have been denied, so the president of Ukraine’s tweet about “complete victory” seems to be a bit exaggerating, but this is something inevitable in the current political situation.

You can also find some information in the published order about the Russian counterarguments, presented in the meantime. Those are based on the jurisdiction issues I have outlined in my earlier post. The Court has no jurisdiction to examine questions related to use of force, only related to the Genocide Convention, and Russia argues that it uses force not on the basis of that, but on the basis of customary law and Article 51 of the UN Charter, meaning the practicing of self-defense – this way the jurisdictional clause in Article IX of the Genocide Convention is not applicable. Currently the Court has tackled this argument with currently not dealing with the situation on the merits, but as international law dictates the peaceful settlement of disputes as a general obligation, it is entitled to create these obligations as provisional measures.

It is important to emphasize that this decision is not the judgment in the case. That will take months or even years to be adopted.

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