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140- Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Georgia v. Russian Federation)

Georgia filed an application instituting proceedings against Russia before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for alleged violations of the articles 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

It based the jurisdiction of the Court on Article 22 of said Convention and accompanied its application with a request for the indication of provisional measures, requesting the ICJ to order any measure that would guarantee the preservation of its rights under CERD as well as the protection of its citizens ”against violent discriminatory acts by Russian armed forces, acting in concert with separatist militia and foreign mercenaries”.

Given the urgency of the situation and considering that it had a prima facie jurisdiction to hear the dispute, the Court ordered both parties to ”refrain from any act of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions… ;[to] do all in their power . . . to ensure, without distinction as to national or ethnic origin, (i) security of persons ; (ii) the right of persons to freedom of movement and residence within the border of the State; (iii) the protection of the property of displaced persons and of refugees […]”. Each party was also instructed to refrain from any act which might infringe the rights of the other party with regards with any judgment that the Court might render as well as to keep the court informed of the measures taken to enforce this order.

Order of 15-10-2008.pdf

Russia filed 4 preliminary objections that the ICJ had to examine:

  1. Firstly, the defendant state contended that there were no disputes between the two states regarding the interpretation or application of CERD at the date Georgia filed its Application. The ICJ however, relied on the exchanges of the 2 countries at the UN Security Council to refute this argument;
  2. Secondly, Russia argued that the procedural requirements contained in Article 22 of CERD had not been met. This article, provided, inter alia, that the parties should first, attempt to settle their dispute by ”negotiation or by the procedures expressly provided for in this Convention”. The Court first ensured that Georgia had not resorted to any of the proceedings listed in the CERD. As there had also been no negotiations between the 2 States after the dispute arose, the ICJ concluded that Georgia had failed to meet the procedural requirements listed in Article 22 of the Convention. Therefore, and without having to consider the two other objections, the Court ruled Georgia’s application as non receivable. 

Judgment of 01-04-2011.pdf

This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.