International Court of Justice

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Group.png International Court of Justice  
(CourtWebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
International Court of Justice Seal.svg
Formation1945
Parent organizationUN
HeadquartersThe Hague, Netherlands
LeaderInternational Court of Justice/President
Type• legal
• international
The international court charged with preventing war crimes which is constitutionally unable to carry out its mission as regards the permanent members of the UN security council (and their allies) which are also (more or less) the world's most active weapons producers and wagers of illegal war.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), also called the World Court, is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), which settles disputes between states in accordance with international law and gives advisory opinions on international legal issues. The ICJ is the only international court that adjudicates general disputes between countries, with its rulings and opinions serving as primary sources of international law (subject to Article 59 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice).

Background

Established in 1945 by the UN/Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice.

Current Members

The ICJ comprises a bench of fifteen Judges, each elected to a nine-year term of office by the United Nations General Assembly and the UN Security Council. Members of the Court are independent Judges whose first task, before taking up their duties, is to make a solemn declaration in open court that they will exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously.

When engaged in the business of the Court, ICJ Members enjoy privileges and immunities comparable with those of the head of a diplomatic mission. In The Hague, the President takes precedence over the doyen of the diplomatic corps, who is followed by the Vice-President, after which precedence alternates between Judges and Ambassadors. Each Member of the Court receives an annual salary consisting of a base salary (which, for 2023, amounts to US$191,263 and post adjustment, with a special supplementary allowance of US$25,000 for the President. On leaving the Court, Judges receive an annual pension which, after a nine-year term of office, is equal to half the annual base salary.[1]

Lebanon
Member of the Court since 6 February 2018; President of the Court as from 6 February 2024
Uganda
Member of the Court since 6 February 2012; re-elected as from 6 February 2021; Vice-President of the Court as from 6 February 2024
  • Judge Peter Tomka
Slovakia
Member of the Court since 6 February 2003; re-elected as from 6 February 2012 and as from 6 February 2021; Vice-President of the Court from 6 February 2009 to 5 February 2012; President of the Court from 6 February 2012 to 5 February 2015
  • Judge Ronny Abraham
France
Member of the Court since 15 February 2005; re-elected as from 6 February 2009 and as from 6 February 2018; President of the Court from 6 February 2015 to 5 February 2018
  • Judge Mohamed Bennouna
Morocco
Member of the Court since 6 February 2006; re-elected as from 6 February 2015
  • Judge XUE Hanqin
China
Member of the Court since 29 June 2010; re-elected as from 6 February 2012 and as from 6 February 2021; Vice-President of the Court from 6 February 2018 to 8 February 2021
  • Judge Dalveer Bhandari
India
Member of the Court since 27 April 2012, re-elected as from 6 February 2018
  • Judge Iwasawa Yuji
Japan
Member of the Court since 22 June 2018; re-elected as from 6 February 2021
  • Judge Georg Nolte
Germany
Member of the Court since 6 February 2021
  • Judge Hilary Charlesworth
Australia
Member of the Court since 5 November 2021
  • Judge Leonardo Nemer Caldeira Brant
Brazil
Member of the Court since 4 November 2022
  • Judge Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo
Mexico
Member of the Court since 6 February 2024
  • Judge Sarah H. Cleveland
United States of America
Member of the Court since 6 February 2024
  • Judge Bogdan-Lucian Aurescu
Romania
Member of the Court since 6 February 2024
  • Judge Dire Tladi
South Africa
Member of the Court since 6 February 2024[2]

Judges ad hoc

Judges ad hoc are appointed by litigant countries when their cases come before the Court. For example:

Ukraine: Mr Yves Daudet
South Africa: Mr Dikgang Ernest Moseneke[5]
Israel: Mr Aharon Barak[6]

The ICJ President (Joan Donoghue) decides whether a permanent Judge has to stand down temporarily to make way for a Judge ad hoc.[7]

Genocide in Gaza

South Africa accuses Israel of genocide

On 11 January 2024, the Republic of South Africa presented its case to the ICJ accusing the State of Israel of committing actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory of Gaza that are "genocidal in character" against the Palestinian people.[8]

Faced with a toll of more than 22,100 people killed between mid-October and 3 January in Gaza, Pretoria invoked “its rights and obligations” to prevent genocide and “protect the Palestinians of Gaza from destruction”. These rights and obligations are exercised within the framework of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[9]

Concluding a 3-hour sitting of the Court, South Africa's Ambassador at The Hague Vusi Madonsela called upon the ICJ to order Israel to:

Cease all military activities in the OPT;
Stop killing and causing serious mental and physical harm to the Palestinian people in Gaza;
Stop deliberately imposing living conditions intended to bring about their physical destruction as a group; and,
Allow access to humanitarian aid.[10]

On 12 January 2024, Israel presented its case. The Israeli delegation was led by Mr Gilad Noam, Deputy Attorney General for International Law, Ministry of Justice of the State of Israel, Mr Tal Becker, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel, and Ms Tamar Kaplan Tourgeman, Principal Deputy Legal Adviser of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel, as Co-Agents.

Israel responded: “In accordance with Article 60, paragraph 2, of the Rules of Court, for the reasons given during the hearing of 12 January 2024 and any other reasons the Court might deem appropriate, the State of Israel hereby requests the Court to:

Reject the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa; and
Remove the case from the General List.”[11]

The ICJ said in a statement on Wednesday 24 January 2024 that the 17-Judge panel will announce its response to South Africa’s requests in Court on January 26:[12]

On Friday 26 January 2024, the ICJ will deliver its Order on the Request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel). A public sitting will take place at 1 p.m. at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which Judge Joan E. Donoghue, the President of the Court, will read the ICJ’s Order.[13]

US vetoes enforcement

In 1986, after the court ruled that the United States's covert war against Nicaragua violated international law, the US simply withdrew from compulsory jurisdiction. Although Chapter XIV of the UN Charter authorises the Security Council to enforce court rulings, such enforcement is subject to the veto power of the five permanent members of the council, so the United States simply vetoed enforcement of the case, allowing it to avoid the effective sanction of the ICJ.

The court has ignored obvious evidence of illegality in connection with the 2003 Iraq War, notably when the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission found Tony Blair and a bunch of US government officials guilty of war crimes.

Ruling on Kosovo

In its Advisory Opinion of 22 July 2010, the ICJ concluded that the declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo in its precise historical circumstances "did not violate any applicable rule of international law".[14][15] The declaration of independence thus set a precedent that could apply to other separatist movements.[16]


 

A Document by International Court of Justice

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:South Africa institutes Genocide Convention proceedings against Israelstatement29 December 2023Israel
South Africa
Occupied Palestinian Territory
International Court of Justice
Genocide Convention
2023-2024 Israel-Hamas War
Israeli–Palestinian conflict
South Africa's 84-page Application instituting Genocide Convention proceedings against Israel

 

Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:A Devastating Indictment of Israel’s War on GazaArticle11 January 2024Mike Small
Roshdi Sarraj
Document:Dikgang Moseneke to join bench of judges in Israel-Hamas world court caseArticle5 January 2024Kgaugelo MaswenengShould presiding American Judge Joan Donoghue recuse herself when it comes to determining whether US staunch ally Israel has committed genocide in Gaza?
Document:Ex-Israeli Supreme Court chief Aharon Barak appointed as ICJ judge for genocide caseArticle8 January 2024The New Arab StaffAharon Barak argued that the rules of collateral damage permit the killing of Palestinian fighters even if led to the deaths of children. This was approved by Barak himself in a 2006 Supreme Court ruling, as cited in a report by a Canadian news outlet.
Document:Has International Law Survived, or Has the Western Political Class Killed It?blog post28 January 2024Craig MurrayNow think of this: the very next day after President Herzog made a genocidal statement, as determined by the International Court of Justice, he was met and offered “full support” by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission and Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament
Document:ICJ to decide on emergency measures in Israel-Gaza genocide case this weekArticle24 January 2024Al Jazeera staffSouth Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor will travel to The Hague to be present at the International Court of Justice as it rules on the Israeli genocide in Gaza.
Document:International justice: the South African complaint against Israel for “genocide” in GazaArticle10 January 2024United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe
Document:Israel Goes to Court for the Crime of GenocideArticle12 January 2024Philip GiraldiThe plan by America’s “best friend” and “closest ally” to nuke the world even has a name: the “Samson Option,” recalling how the Biblical strongman Samson brought down the temple where the Philistines were mocking him, killing thousands of them.
Document:On Gaza, Sunak's Tories and Starmer's Labour have merged into a single pro-war partyArticle22 January 2024Peter OborneIf the ICJ rules in South Africa’s favour then Rishi Sunak, as well as US President Joe Biden, will be wide open to the charge that they are aiding and abetting genocide. And so will Labour’s Keir Starmer.
Document:South Africa institutes Genocide Convention proceedings against Israelstatement29 December 2023International Court of JusticeSouth Africa's 84-page Application instituting Genocide Convention proceedings against Israel
Document:South Africa’s Case Was a Display of International Solidarity - We Should Support ItArticle12 January 2024Jeremy CorbynAt the International Court of Justice, South Africa spoke on behalf of the billions of people who oppose Israel's genocide in Gaza — and put Western governments to shame for their deplorable complicity.
Document:Your Man in the Hague (In a Good Way) Part 1blog post11 January 2024Craig MurrayThe fact of genocide is incontrovertible and had been plainly set out. But several of the Judges are desperate to find a way to please the USA and Israel and avoid countering the current Zionist narrative, the adoption of which is necessary to keep your feet comfortably under the table of the elite.
Document:Your Man in the Hague (In a Good Way) Part 2blog post14 January 2024Craig Murray"These two days in the Hague were absolutely crucial for deciding if there is any meaning left in notions of international law and human rights. I still believe action by the Court could cause the US and UK to back off and provide some measure of relief. For now, let us all pray or wish, each in our way, for the children of Gaza."

 

A document sourced from International Court of Justice

TitleTypeSubject(s)Publication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:South Africa institutes Genocide Convention proceedings against IsraelstatementIsrael
South Africa
Occupied Palestinian Territory
International Court of Justice
Genocide Convention
2023-2024 Israel-Hamas War
Israeli–Palestinian conflict
29 December 2023International Court of JusticeSouth Africa's 84-page Application instituting Genocide Convention proceedings against Israel
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References