World Court hearing on legality of Israeli occupation ends following week of testimony

Over 50 nations presented testimony to the ICJ on the legality of the Israeli occupation, with the majority offering stirring arguments for Israeli accountability and justice for the Palestinians. An Advisory Opinion is expected sometime this summer.

Hon. Yvonne Dausab, Minister of Justice of Namibia, presenting testimony to the International Court of Justice on the legality of the Israeli occupation

David Kattenburg reports in Mondoweiss on 26 February 2024:

Israel and its allies moved heaven and Earth to prevent a legal debate over its military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem from happening. This past week in The Hague, the debate finally took place.

On Monday, February 19, in response to a late December request from the UN General Assembly for an authoritative opinion, the UN’s supreme judicial body convened oral hearings on the “legal consequences” arising from Israeli “policies and practices” over the course of its 56-year belligerent occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.

In other words, on the legality of Israel’s occupation and what UN member states must do to hold Israel accountable under international law.  The International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearings wrapped up late this afternoon, Netherlands-time.

Enjoined by the court’s Lebanese President Nawaf Salam to limit their comments to thirty minutes, diplomats and attorneys from fifty nations and three organizations stood before the ICJ’s 15 judges, laying out facts and arguments.

Many got emotional.

“Exceptional moral principles for humanity” are at stake, Bangladeshi ambassador Riaz Hamidullah declared. “Palestinians are not an expendable people.”

The Palestinian people had a right to independence in 1948, like all other League of Nations Mandate territories, Belizean Ambassador Assad Shoman told the court in a sharp, incisively voiced statement.  “No state reserves to itself the right to systematically violate the rights of a people to self-determination … except Israel,” Shoman said. “No state seeks to justify the indefinite occupation of another’s territory … except Israel. No state commits annexation and apartheid with impunity, except — it seems – Israel … Israel must be made to behave like all civilized nations, Stop violating international law and UN resolutions! Respect the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Palestine must be free!”

…. …. ….

“[No] country is above the law,” declared Indonesia’s Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi. “Indonesia believes that this legal motion is also a motion of global conscience. It should not be another … call to go unheeded, ignored blatantly by Israel. Never again means never again.”

More ….

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