Indian judge votes at International Court of Justice to end attack on Ukraine

Judges from Russia and China on the 15-member bench dissented

Demonstrators wait for the verdict of the International Court of Justice in the proceedings initiated by Ukraine against Russia over its invasion.  AFP

An Indian was among 13 judges at the UN’s top court that ordered Russia to halt its offensive in Ukraine, marking a departure from New Delhi’s stand on the crisis.

Judges from Russia and China on the 15-member bench registered their dissent after Kyiv dragged Moscow to the International Court of Justice.

“The Russian Federation shall immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on February 24, 2022, in the territory of Ukraine,” the ICJ order said.

The judgments are binding on member states but the world court lacks the means to enforce them.

Indian judge Dalveer Bhandari on Wednesday voted in favour of the order, demanding that Russia end its “military operations".

The move weakened New Delhi’s diplomatic efforts to appear neutral. States may back the candidature of their citizens but the judges do not represent their countries at the world court.

Justice Bhandari’s vote against Russia was said to be an independent decision.

Despite its strong ties to the US and the EU, India's refusal to denounce Russia over its invasion has annoyed some of its allies in the West.

New Delhi has so far abstained from all five UN resolutions sponsored by the West against Russia. Instead, it has urged Moscow and Kyiv to resolve the dispute through diplomacy and dialogue.

The US and Europe have imposed crippling sanctions on Moscow and lobbied the international community to put pressure on Russia.

UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss is expected to visit New Delhi later this month to discuss the crisis. The visit will be the first by a European official to the Indian capital after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Ms Truss attributed India’s pro-Russia stance regarding the conflict to its military and economic dependence on Moscow.

Updated: March 17, 2022, 1:07 PM