OPINIONS

Sun 11 Jun 2023 10:06 am - Jerusalem Time

What do we offer to the International Court of Justice ICJ before 25-7-2023

I find myself compelled to address this topic once again to draw the attention of the decision-maker to the importance of prior preparation. On 8-2-2023, the court in the Netherlands issued a decision regulating the legal procedures and time limits for presenting written statements, comments and responses regarding the issuance of an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice regarding the legal consequences arising from Israel’s policies and practices in the occupied Palestinian territory, i.e. about (what is the legal occupation).


The court decided that the United Nations and its member states, as well as the observer State of Palestine, are able to provide information about the questions submitted to the court to obtain an advisory opinion pursuant to Article 66 of its statute, and set 25-7-2023 as a time limit for submitting written statements about questions to the court. And the date is 10-25-2023 as a time limit for countries and organizations after submitting written statements, they may submit written comments or objections to the written statements submitted by other countries or organizations.


The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and consists of 15 judges elected by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council for a period of nine years. The Court has a dual role:


First: Settlement of legal disputes submitted by states to them in accordance with international law through provisions that have binding force and are not subject to appeal for the parties concerned (arbitration).


Second: Providing advisory opinions on legal issues referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and agencies (the Palestinian case).


At the request of a Palestinian, the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the decision to request an advisory opinion from the highest international judicial body (the International Court of Justice) on the nature of occupation, which is very necessary for the decision-maker:


Not to underestimate the decline in the voting record among the number of countries supporting resolutions supporting the Palestinian right. It is necessary to follow up and work hard to win over these abstaining countries, or at a minimum, not to allow the number of supporting countries to decline.


Learning and building from the experience of 2004, when an advisory opinion was issued by the International Court of Justice, stressing the obligation to establish a Palestinian state as soon as possible. The court's opinion affirmed the illegality of the wall and placed responsibility on the United Nations. However, the advisory opinion was not properly built upon and is ultimately non-binding.


With the international system aware of the Israeli government's determination to continue its occupation and undermine the right of Palestinian self-determination, this time, for the court to provide an advisory opinion on the legitimacy of the long-term Israeli occupation, it is necessary for the questions to revolve around exposing the obsessive settlement purpose of prolonging the occupation, which is a clear violation of peremptory norms Therefore, the Palestinian decision-maker must prepare an international legal team to present written statements, comments and responses in order to formulate appropriate questions and sound legal language that achieves the supreme Palestinian interest.


In light of publishing the dates for the court's procedures, the Palestinians must reactivate the national and legal committees to mobilize and unify efforts to follow up on the file and avoid wasting any opportunity, as there are only 45 days left!!


The comment I wish to take into account is that it is not wise for the International Court of Justice to repeat that bilateral negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israeli government are “the only and sufficient tool” to achieve peace and to secure a politically independent Palestinian state. It is very necessary to draw the attention of the Court to consider peaceful measures and means of conflict resolution Other than "negotiations" to achieve the same goal.


It is possible to resort to mediation, conciliation, or arbitration from the methods that the court may deem preferable, with the ultimate goal remaining the same, to avoid further delay and to achieve Palestinian self-determination, which is an inalienable right in the international system.


The importance of submitting this request for asylum to the ICJ coincides with a bloody extremist Israeli government. The Palestinian step by requesting an advisory opinion constitutes positive progress with a Palestinian initiative to get out of the circle of being lost in the details to directing gravity around the "occupation" and the need to start ending it.


If the court decides to deal with the occupation as a legal issue, then there will be an opportunity for the Palestinians to get rid of the justification for negotiations and peaceful talks, because the issue of occupation becomes, by an international decision, a UN legal issue and not an issue for negotiation.

- Dalal Erekat: Professor of Diplomacy and Strategic Planning, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Arab American University.

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What do we offer to the International Court of Justice ICJ before 25-7-2023

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