U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Cynicism about the value of international law is understandable, given its failure to change state behavior. But it is a mistake to look at recent developments and conclude that the rules that underpin the rules-based order do not matter. Understanding why requires thinking more carefully about the purpose of international law.

ICJ judges read a ruling about a case filed by Ukraine in the days after Russia’s invasion.

The International Court of Justice last week agreed to take up the question of whether Ukraine was committing genocide in the war against Russia. The ruling may have surprised some observers, but Ukraine actually asked the ICJ to rule on its own conduct in order to decisively repudiate Russia’s justification for invading.

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