Court Asked to Drop Charges

THE HAGUE -- Russia has asked the UN's highest court to dismiss Georgia's request for urgent intervention, telling 15 judges that Russian troops are withdrawing from Georgian territory and thousands of refugees are returning to abandoned homes in the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

In their final summation of three days of arguments, lawyers for Russia on Wednesday described Russian troops as a benign force that was controlling looting and protecting ethnic Georgians. They claimed Georgia's legal team had misrepresented the plight of refugees who fled during last month's five-day war.

Georgia brought the case to the International Court of Justice days after its troops were crushed in a Russian counteroffensive last month following Georgia's attempt to retake South Ossetia by force.