UNGA Request for ICJ Advisory Opinion

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Event.png UNGA Request for ICJ Advisory Opinion (international law) Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
ICJ Israel OPT.jpg
Date19 February 2024 - 26 February 2024

On 30 December 2022, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/77/247, requesting the International Court of Justice to give an Advisory Opinion in respect of the Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

The ICJ scheduled public hearings to be held from 19 to 26 February 2024. The Court's non-binding Advisory Opinion is expected to be given in three to four months' time.

Extract of Resolution A/RES/77/247

The relevant part of Resolution A/RES/77/247 reads:

“The General Assembly,
"18. Decides, in accordance with Article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations, to request the International Court of Justice, pursuant to Article 65 of the Statute of the Court, to render an advisory opinion on the following questions, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, and the advisory opinion of the Court of 9 July 2004:
"(a) What are the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures?
"(b) How do the policies and practices of Israel referred to in paragraph 18 (a) above affect the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal consequences that arise for all States and the United Nations from this status?"[1]


The schedule for the hearings adopted by the Court is as follows:

Monday 19 February 2024

  • 10.00 a.m.-10.15 a.m. Opening of the oral proceedings
  • 10.15 a.m.-1.15 p.m. State of Palestine

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Thursday 22 February 2024

Friday 23 February 2024

Monday 26 February 2024

Palestine's plea

Palestine presented its arguments for three hours on 19 February 2024, with Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki beginning with these words:

“I stand before you as 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, half of them children, are besieged and bombed, killed and maimed, starved and displaced, as more than 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are subjected to colonisation of their territory and the racist violence that enables it, as 1.7 million Palestinians in Israel are treated as second class citizens and unwelcomed intruders on their ancestral land, as seven million Palestinian refugees continue to be denied their right of return to their land and home.”
Successive governments in Israel have left only three choices to Palestinians, he said, “displacement, subjugation or death. Here are the choices: ethnic cleansing, apartheid or genocide.”
Calling for “an end to Israel’s impunity”, which is “a moral, political and legal imperative”, he said “our people are here to stay…and they will not forsake their rights.”[3]

Israel hasn't consented

Dan Sarooshi: "Israel hasn't consented"

On 23 February 2024, Professor Dan Sarooshi, the UK’s representative at the International Court of Justice, asked the ICJ not to offer the Advisory Opinion requested by the UN General Assembly on the legal consequences arising from the policies and practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem, saying:

"Israel has not consented to the main points of the dispute being resolved by this Court.
"To the contrary, it has asked the Court to refuse to respond to the request.
"Given the content of the request that's currently formulated, there is thus no basis on which the Court should answer it."[4]

Arab League's legal masterpiece

A legal masterpiece from Ralph Wilde on behalf of the Arab League

The highlight of the ICJ hearing came on 26 February 2024, the final day, when Dr Ralph Wilde addressed the Court on behalf of the Arab League.

In what has been described as "a legal masterpiece", Dr Wilde held the full attention of the Judges as he proceeded step-by-step to demolish the legal basis for Israel's policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.[5]

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