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International Court of Justice: No Jurisdiction for Georgian Claim

(Apr. 5, 2011) On April 1, 2011, the International Court of Justice (ICJ)in The Hague announced that it does not have jurisdiction to decide on a dispute between Georgia and Russia.

The reason for this determination, which came on a ten-to-six vote by the ICJ judges, was that the two nations had not yet tried to settle the problem through direct negotiations. (UN World Court Rules It Has No Jurisdiction to Decide Georgian Claim, UN NEWS CENTRE (Apr. 1, 2011).)

The case concerns Georgia's assertion that Russia has violated the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination with a policy of discriminating against ethnic Georgians and other non-Russian peoples in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia had submitted four preliminary objections to the case being adjudicated by the ICJ, including the point that the Convention requires the countries involved to attempt to resolve their differences through negotiations as a first step. (Id.; Summary 2011/2, Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Georgia v. Russian Federation), Preliminary Objections, Summary of the Judgment of 1 April 2011, ICJ website (Apr. 1, 2011); International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (in force since Jan. 4, 1969), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights website (last visited Apr. 1, 2011).)