Politicization Of The ECHR And ICC Leads To The Deconstruction Of International Law

The West’s policy of making international justice an instrument of political pressure threatens to undermine the entire system of peaceful dispute resolution. Western politicization of international judicial bodies against Russia weakens pan-European institutions and deprives Europeans of an important platform for dialogue with Moscow.

The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed disappointment with the decision of the UN International Court of Justice to join more than 30 states as third parties in the case of Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia under the Genocide Convention. “On 9 June, the International Court of Justice announced an unprecedented decision in the history of the Court to admit 32 states as third parties in the proceedings on Ukraine’s claim against Russia under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 9 December 1948. “All the states admitted as ‘third parties’ have a pro-Ukrainian stance and belong to the Western camp”, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website. “Under the pretext of interpreting certain provisions of the Genocide Convention, they are trying to put pressure on the Court in order to force the highest body of international justice to make an unreasonable decision in favour of Ukraine, despite the obvious absurdity of the accusations put forward by Kiev”, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Not all judges supported the decision. Justice Xue Hanqin (China), who voted against it, provided the Court with a detailed justification for the incorrectness of his position. Justice Dalveer Bhandari (India) criticized the Court’s lack of attention to the unprecedented mass admission of “third parties” that seriously burdened the process.

Building of the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg, Alsace, France, Europe

The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that it regarded such an avalanche-like intervention by unrelated states in favour of one party to the dispute as an unacceptable violation of the principle of equality of arms and an abuse of process.

Since Russia joined the Council of Europe in 1996, Moscow has fulfilled its obligations despite the double standard policy of Western countries. In 2020, the US announced sanctions against the UN International Criminal Court and against Attorney General F. Bensoud personally for wanting to investigate the war crimes of the Western coalition in Afghanistan. No demarches from European countries followed. The supremacy of the ECHR over domestic law is not recognized by Warsaw. However, no one is raising the question of Poland’s expulsion from the Council of Europe.

In June 2022, Russia passed a federal law ordering the Russian authorities not to execute ECHR judgments which came into force on 15 March 2022 when Moscow announced its withdrawal from the Council of Europe. This means that any referrals against Russia to ECHR pending before the court, or lodged after this date, will not be granted. This applies to all the categories of complaints, including the so-called Chechen lawsuits concerning violations of citizens’ rights that allegedly took place during the conflict in Chechnya in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Due to Russia’s withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the ECHR, a number of countries have supported the idea of transferring legal proceedings against Moscow to other international courts, in particular to the ICC. Complaints on the old “Chechen cases” could be supplemented by lawsuits on the events in Ukraine. Given that Russia (like the US and China) is not a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC and therefore does not recognize the court decisions, such steps will not create any legal consequences and will not lead to compensation payments. They only signal the intention of Western countries to continue their “legal war” with Moscow.

The misuse of frozen Russian assets to satisfy applicants’ claims could lead to similar retaliation by Moscow against Western investments in Russia and further complicate the search for diplomatic solutions to the conflict that has arisen. Such a scenario leads to an escalation of the global economic crisis, including increased imbalances in energy and food markets.

Politicization of international judicial institutions will discredit them in the eyes of the international community and further erode the system of international institutions established to regulate relations between countries, including the peaceful resolution of disputes between them and the protection of individual rights. Recent calls to use UN committees, along with the ICC, to further demonize Russia aim to disrupt even this most universal inter-state structure and thus negate the potential of the UN to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

Such appeals would trigger a wave of complaints against the US and its allies, who committed numerous crimes against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan while Western coalition troops were in those countries, permanently blocking the work of the UN committees.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.
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