Indian judge at the International Court of Justice votes against Russia

Dalveer Bhandari, a former justice with the Supreme Court of India, backs the decision ordering Russia to stop military operations. The court rejects Russia’s claim that Ukraine is guilty of genocide. At the UN, India has abstained in resolutions against Russia to avoid condemning it.


New Delhi (AsiaNews) – At the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Indian judge Dalveer Bhandari voted in favour of an order intimating that Russia stop military operations in Ukraine.

Thirteen members (out of 15) of the main judicial organ of the United Nations, voted in favour of the order, while its vice-president, Kirill Gevorgian of Russia, and one of the judges, Sue Hanqin from China, voted against it.

Bhandari's vote takes on particular significance in light of India's position with respect to the conflict. Hitherto, New Delhi has avoided voting against Moscow at the UN, abstaining both in the resolutions presented to the Security Council and the Emergency General Assembly on 2 March.

The Indian government is trying to hold a delicate balance between its traditional neutrality and its economic and geopolitical interests in this crisis. Called to express an opinion on the legal aspect of the crisis, the Indian judge chose to condemn the military action.

Bhandari, 74, hails from Jodhpur. A former justice with the Indian Supreme Court, he was elected to the ICJ in 2012 and re-elected in 2018. His renewed mandate was seen as a sign of India’s political rise, as it forced the United Kingdom to withdraw its candidate once it was clear that the Indian judge had the support of the General Assembly.

For his part, Bhandari signed off on important issues involving humanitarian law during his career as a Supreme Court justice, such as the right to food, education and shelter for the homeless.

The ICJ order notes that no evidence has been presented that Ukraine engaged in genocide against Russian-speaking communities in eastern Ukraine, which is one of claims Russia has cited to justify its invasion.

Although the court orders “The Russian Federation” to “immediately suspend the military operations”, it has no power to enforce the order, that is vested in the Security Council where Russia has a veto.