Mon 19 Feb 2024 10:15 am - Jerusalem Time

Today: Public hearings on Israeli occupation at the International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice in The Hague begins, until Monday, holding public hearings on the legal consequences arising from Israel’s policies and practices in the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

Today witnesses the opening of the hearings in The Hague and the statement of the State of Palestine.

The sessions come in the context of the United Nations General Assembly’s request to obtain a fatwa from the court on the effects of the Israeli occupation that has continued for more than 57 years, and will continue for six days between 19 and 26 February.

During the sessions, the court is scheduled to hear briefings from 52 countries - an unprecedented number in the history of the court - in addition to the African Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the League of Arab States.

The General Assembly had submitted a request for an advisory opinion from the court in a resolution it adopted in late December 2022 on the legal consequences “arising from Israel’s continued violation of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and from its long-term occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at changing the demographic composition,and  character and status of the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, and its adoption of discriminatory legislation and measures in this regard.”

The procedures presented before the International Court of Justice differ from the case filed by South Africa against Israel regarding its non-compliance with the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide in the Occupied Palestinian Territory during its war on the Gaza Strip, which led to the death of more than 28,000 Palestinians and the displacement of the majority of the population of Gaza.

Although advisory opinions issued by the International Court of Justice are non-binding, they can carry significant moral and legal authority and can eventually become part of the norms of international law, legally binding on states.

The General Assembly had requested a legal advisory opinion on Israeli actions in the occupied territories in December 2003 regarding the construction of the apartheid wall in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. A few months later, in July 2004, the court found that construction of the wall contravened international law and must stop, and that the parts that had been built must be dismantled.

These proceedings provide the Court with the opportunity to provide - two decades after its last advisory opinion - a more comprehensive assessment of the practices of the Israeli occupation, and to advise on the application of international humanitarian law, human rights law, and international criminal law.

Israel was among 57 countries and international organizations that submitted written statements to the court by the deadline it set of July 25, 2023, and decided not to participate in the oral hearings.

It is noteworthy that the International Court of Justice is the main judicial body of the United Nations, and consists of 15 judges who are elected for a nine-year term by the General Assembly and the UN Security Council.


Share your opinion

Today: Public hearings on Israeli occupation at the International Court of Justice