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(8,361 posts)
Thu Mar 17, 2022, 03:20 PM Mar 2022

The ICJ's Provisional Measures Order: Unprecedented

by Ori Pomson | Mar 17, 2022

On March 16, 2022, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rendered its provisional measures order in the application brought by Ukraine against Russia under the Genocide Convention, arguing, inter alia, that Russia’s invasion was an unlawful abuse of its obligation under the Convention to prevent genocide. In its order, by 13 votes to 2, the Court ordered that Russia “shall immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on 24 February 2022 in the territory of Ukraine.” While the ICJ has previously rendered provisional measures orders in high profile situations—the Tehran Hostage Crisis, U.S. military activities against Nicaragua, armed clashes between Burkina Faso and Mali, Uganda’s invasion of Congo and Russia’s invasion of Georgia—it would be no exaggeration to say that the present order is the most breathtaking one it has ordered to date.

The purpose of the present post is twofold: It will first summarize the ICJ’s order and then offer some commentary. However, before doing so, it is useful to provide some background on the ICJ’s power to render provisional measures orders.

Background on Provisional Measures Orders

Article 41(1) of the ICJ Statute provides that “[t]he Court shall have the power to indicate, if it considers that circumstances so require, any provisional measures which ought to be taken to preserve the respective rights of either party.” While for many years it was debated whether such measures are binding, the Court settled this question affirmatively in its 2001 LaGrand judgment, in the context of the U.S. state of Arizona’s execution of a German national despite a provisional measures order rendered to the contrary.

Since provisional measures orders are rendered before the case has been fully adjudicated, serving to protect potential rights of a party in the interim, the Court’s jurisdiction and the validity of the claimed rights cannot be definitively established. However, the prospect of the Court ordering a State to act—accentuated by the LaGrand finding that such measures are binding thereon—necessitates that provisional measures have some nexus with the prospects of the case (Judge Lauterpacht in Interhandel; Judge Abraham in Pulp Mills). For such reasons, the ICJ has developed a number of conditions which must be met for provisional measures to be rendered (see Miles, p. 174).


( Extraordinary, excellent decision. )

The ICJ's Provisional Measures Order: Unprecedented (Original Post) BeckyDem Mar 2022 OP
Excellent! 👏👏👏👏 SheltieLover Mar 2022 #1
Enforcement is always the problem in international legal decisiions-- and all the parties should... TreasonousBastard Mar 2022 #2
Yeah, how can they enforce it? grumpyduck Mar 2022 #3
If nothing else, it could prevent any Russian nationals involved in the war from ever traveling Chainfire Mar 2022 #4
Hunt 'em down and kill 'em? lagomorph777 Mar 2022 #6
KnR Hekate Mar 2022 #5


(43,023 posts)
2. Enforcement is always the problem in international legal decisiions-- and all the parties should...
Thu Mar 17, 2022, 03:54 PM
Mar 2022

have signed the original agreements.


(16,384 posts)
4. If nothing else, it could prevent any Russian nationals involved in the war from ever traveling
Thu Mar 17, 2022, 04:16 PM
Mar 2022

outside the borders of Russia for fear of being snatched off to trial and prison. They could also us the approach that Israel used after the Munich massacre in '72.

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