Thu Jan 25th, 2024 at 10:30:01 AM EST
[updated below the fold]
United Nations world court calls for prevention of genocidal
acts in Gaza | International Court of Justice (ICJ)
UN court decision on Israel genocide case expected Friday | CBC |
Israel rejected the genocide claim outright and argued in the court that South Africa's claim was "distorted." Israel also said it had a right to defend itself and was targeting Hamas, not Palestinians civilians.
The decision will be legally-binding and made by a simple majority, but the court has no way to enforce it.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada supports the court and is "watching carefully" as it deliberates on the allegation — but he would not indicate whether Canada agrees with the allegation, or even if Canada would recognize the ICJ's ruling if it does find Israel to be guilty of genocide.
"I'm not going to comment on what could be an eventual finding by a process that we support as it unfolds," Trudeau said at a news conference in New Brunswick last week.
The Body of the Judge and the Suffering of the Collective
South Africa’s Genocide Application and the Power of Minority Opinions
The widespread prediction among experts right now is that Israel’s chances of prevailing at the ICJ in its response to South Africa’s genocide application are slim. By making murderous statements, Israeli elected and military officials created a comfortable legal environment for South Africa’s claims. To take only one of the many examples, on October 28 Prime Minister Netanyahu said,
“You must remember what Amalek has done to you”.
The phrase refers back to its even more explicit neighbor in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 25:19, Moses delivers God’s message:
“You must wipe out Amalek so completely that no one will remember they ever lived.”
We Israelis learn these lines in elementary school. Coupled with the mass destruction, killing, imposition of hunger, and denial of medical aid in Gaza – as well as the displacement of 85% of Gazans — Netanyahu’s statement furnishes the genocide argument. Such statements make it hard to deny, at the very least, the incitement aspect of South Africa’s claim.
Let’s assume, for a moment, that the prediction is accurate. As has been reported, Israeli authorities, too, have acknowledged that there’s a real risk of an ICJ decision against Israel. What does this mean for Israel’s legal strategy? When a party is preparing to lose in a proceeding, one relevant question is what the minority opinion will look like. This is true for ICJ minority opinions, the subject of this post, as much as it is true for high-profile constitutional cases. From a historical narrative perspective, sometimes the minority opinion can carry significant weight. In hindsight, it may even carry more weight than the majority.
Aharon Barak’s appointment as an ad-hoc judge for the ICJ proceedings may reveal some of the outlines Israel is preparing for this minority opinion: even if we lose, we may still try to convince the world that the issue at hand is none other than the memory of the Holocaust. But this is a morally and politically risky choice to make.
Barak’s new role actually continues the mission to which he has devoted his entire professional life: legitimizing the majority of Israel’s crimes, while simultaneously defending the façade of “Israeli democracy.” Barak, after all, is one of the most significant authors of the legal doctrine that Israel can claim to be a democracy while maintaining an endless military occupation and systematically depriving the Palestinians of their rights, dignity, land, and property.
Israel’s Orthodox Rabbis: ‘Palestinians to the Ovens!’ | Tikun Olam - 12 Jan. 2011 |
ICJ orders that Israel must prevent incitement of genocide in Gaza
Israel must take all possible measures to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide in Gaza, the UN's top court has declared in its interim ruling.
Former ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo: "ICJ's decision on cease-fire was smart" | DW News |
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