Georgia said Moscow violated a 1965 treaty in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, bringing that case before the ICJ at the end of a 2008 war with Russia.
Russian went to war with Georgia in 2008 after Georgian forces stormed the separatist republic of South Ossetia. The conflict spilled over to engulf Abkhazian forces.
Moscow recognized both republics shortly after the conflict and signed agreements in 2010 to build permanent military installations in the breakaway regions.
Washington considers Abkhazia part of Georgian territory.
The ICJ said Friday it didn't have jurisdiction in the case because Tbilisi never tried to settle its claims before bringing the matter to the court.
Georgian First Deputy Justice Minister Tina Burjaliani said her country was disappointed but didn't see the ruling as the end of the matter.
"What became clear after today's decision is that although the proceedings will not immediately continue, the court leaves the possibility open for Georgia to try to settle this issue through negotiations," she told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Moscow denies claims of ethnic cleansing in the region, describing the ICJ's ruling as a "very, very good decision."