Russian media are actively distorting the decision of the International Court of Justice, adopted on January 31. Propagandists said that the Court rejected all of Kyiv's demands. Pro-Kremlin “experts” also claim that the Court’s decision supposedly confirms that “Russia honestly fulfilled its obligations to cooperate in the fight against the financing of terrorism”, and the Court itself “refused” to recognize Russia as an “aggressor state”. However, this is manipulation.
Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found out that Ukraine, as a plaintiff, did not demand that the International Court of Justice recognize Russia as an aggressor, therefore all propaganda statements about this are disinformation. The court considered the case not on whether Russia is an aggressor state, but on whether it finances terrorism and promotes racial discrimination in the occupied Ukrainian territories. In particular, Ukraine accused Russia of violating the Conventions for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the Prohibition of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. We are talking about the beginning of Russia’s occupation of parts of the Donetsk, Luhansk regions and Crimea in 2014. The lawsuit did not directly address a full-scale Russian invasion in 2022. On January 31, 2024, the International Court of Justice announced its decision on this claim. The court indeed rejected most of the Ukrainian arguments, among which was the payment of compensation to Ukraine. But he admitted that Russia violated the provisions of both Conventions. Thus, Russia is, at the highest possible level, officially recognized as a state violating international law. Although the Court rejected most of Ukraine's claims that Russia financed terrorism, this decision in no way confirms the “honesty of Russia”, as Russian propaganda claims. The court ruled that Russia refused to investigate allegations that funds were flowing from Russia to Ukraine for possible terrorist financing.
In terms of racial discrimination, Ukraine focused on accusations against Russia of committing illegal actions against the Crimean Tatars, the Mejlis, culture and religion. However, Ukraine’s arguments regarding the recognition of violations by Russia in Crimea of the right to assembly and freedom of speech, as well as Russia’s participation in the persecution, abductions and murders of Crimeans, did not satisfy the Court. However, it ruled that Russia had banned teaching in Ukrainian since its occupation of Crimea in 2014, limiting the rights of Ukrainians and thus violating the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The decision also states that Russia, with its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, violated the Court’s 2017 decision, which prohibited any action that could “worsen or prolong the dispute before the Court or complicate its resolution”. According to the Court, these actions “seriously undermined the basis of mutual trust and cooperation and thus made the resolution of the dispute more difficult”.
It should be noted that Russia manipulated the provisions of the Court’s decision in its favor, although previously Russian propaganda actively tried to discredit not only this international body, but also a number of other institutions. In particular, by spreading such manipulations, propagandists want to create the false impression that the international community has recognized Russia’s actions as lawful.