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In First, Russian Judge Loses UN World Court Seat

Judge Kirill Gevorgyan. Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service

A Russian judge on Thursday lost his re-election bid for the UN’s top court, marking the first time in the legal body's 78-year history that a justice from Russia has not served on the bench.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, was created after the end of World War II to settle disputes between countries.

Five of the 15 sitting ICJ judges are up for re-election every three years.

ICJ Judge Kirill Gevorgian of Russia failed to secure the absolute majority of votes required in both the General Assembly and the Security Council, the UN said Thursday, with Bogdan Aurescu of Romania replacing him as vice president of the court. 

Gevorgian’s absence will mark the first time that either Soviet or modern-day Russia will not have any representation in the World Court. 

A month after Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the ICJ ordered Russia to “immediately suspend” its military operation.

But the Kremlin argues that the ICJ has no jurisdiction since Kyiv’s request for the court to intervene fell outside the 1948 Genocide Convention on which it based the case.

Ukraine says that Russia has made false claims of genocide in Ukraine’s separatist-held Donetsk and Luhansk regions to justify its 2022 invasion.

The ICJ ruled in 2019 that it has jurisdiction in the case, but its full hearing could take years, according to experts.

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