UN World Court rules it has no jurisdiction to decide Georgian claim

1 April 2011 – The International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced today that it cannot consider a claim by Georgia that Russia breached a global pact against racial discrimination because the two countries had not first tried to resolve their dispute through negotiations.

The ICJ, which sits in The Hague, voted by 10 judges to six to uphold one of Russia’s four preliminary objections to the court’s capacity to hear the claim, in which Georgia contended that Russia had breached the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

Detailing the reasoning for its decision, the ICJ – also known as the World Court – said the convention requires the parties to a dispute to first have either attempted negotiations or resorted to the special procedures outlined in the pact, and that the lodging of protests or counter-claims by the two countries was not sufficient.

Georgia had contended that Russia had engaged in a systematic policy of ethnic discrimination against ethnic Georgians and other groups living in Abkhazia and South Ossetia from the early 1990s until fighting broke out there in 2008.

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