Armed Conflict and the ICJ 202

Tomorrow the International Court of Justice will give its decision on the South African interim request for provisional measures to prevent genocide in Gaza. Many are holding their breath for something that will help. How will this go?

You can read my views on some of the arguments in play in my article for Middle East Eye. There is no comment section on MEE, so feel free to discuss that article here.

You will recall that my observation of the demeanour of the judges at the Hague left me not too hopeful. They definitely appeared very uncomfortable to be taking a case which effectively puts the actions of the entire western political establishment on trial, not just Israel. Yet it was impossible to say that South Africa had not presented a strong prima facie case of genocide, including plentiful evidence of intent, which at this stage was all South Africa needed to do.

As I reported the judges got most visibly interested by the procedural arguments that South Africa could not bring the case because it was not in a dispute with Israel at the time of filing. But I don’t think that will stand. Firstly, it doesn’t pass the commonsense test; there is no doubt there is a dispute between South Africa and Israel over whether Israel is committing genocide. While the procedural problem does not in fact arise from the text of the Genocide Convention, but merely from previous jurisprudence from the court that indicates parties should aim to achieve a resolution before going to the court.

None of that previous jurisprudence relates to genocide. In any case of alleged genocide, there is obvious urgency. If Israel’s procedural argument is accepted, then any country committing genocide would only need not to respond to correspondence on the subject and nobody could take them to court for it, until after a “reasonable period” to reply, during which the genocide could continue. What is a “reasonable period” where scores of children are being killed every day? I don’t think the court is going to fall for that one, much as they visibly gasped to be let off the hook.

Judges are of course themselves highly privileged members of the ruling elite. The extent to which that elite is bought up by the Zionist cause has never been clearer to the world. But I retain some hope still because the ICJ has a truly strong record. If tomorrow we learn it has failed, we will know the notion of international law has been finally abandoned.

Both Israel and South Africa’s legal teams will by now probably have been given, in strictest confidence, an indication of the result by the President. This is done to head off any unexpected spontaneous eventuality in court. If they haven’t yet, they will first thing tomorrow morning.

But where there are seventeen judges of different nationalities, including one South African and one Israeli, and several of them are open to influence and discussion with their national governments, you would have to be extremely foolish to believe that the decision has not already leaked out to senior official circles. Which leaves me rather heartened by the fact that South Africa’s foreign minister is flying to The Hague for the decision. That would not be done if the result is a humiliation.

Where there is humiliation is in the willingness of the Western political class to abase themselves utterly in acknowledging the plain truth of Israel crimes. On a macro scale they state it is nonsense to claim that 15,000 dead children so far might indicate a genocidal intent. On a micro scale, in the past 24 hours Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer and the spokesman for the US State Department have all refused to say, point blank, that it is a crime to shoot an unarmed civilian carrying a white flag.

I expect tomorrow will be a fudge. The court will say it will decide on the case in due course, and in the meantime Israel should be careful to take all steps to comply with international humanitarian law and to take all necessary actions to crack down on incitement to genocide. Then nothing would change.

If, however, the court does order a ceasefire on the grounds of a prima facie case for genocide, then I do think you will see a serious moderation of the actions of western politicians, including a reduction in armaments to Israel. That will of course not stop Israel.

Israel has been engaged in the genocide of the Palestinians for 75 years. All we have since October 7 is a more intensive phase again. In the year to October 7 2023, Israel killed over 350 Palestinians. Israel will continue its genocidal policies until the Apartheid State of Israel is abolished. That is the fundamental truth that the ICJ will not address tomorrow.


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202 thoughts on “Armed Conflict and the ICJ

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  • harry law

    The degree to which Western leaders are equally exposed for their role in rhetorically and diplomatically encouraging Israel’s assault on Gaza. The fact that they may be acting in bad faith was underscored last week when it emerged that a group of Dutch officials and diplomats had turned whistleblowers.

    They submitted evidence to the Hague arguing that their prime minister, Mark Rutte, sought to conceal from the public an official finding that Israel was committing war crimes.

    According to the evidence, Rutte asked his legal affairs ministry: “What can we say to make it look like Israel is not committing war crimes?”

    • AG

      Typical that the Rutte scandal is unreported here.
      (Imagine this had been Russia… We would be short of a revolution there toppling Putin.)

    • Yeah, Right

      Probably a good time to point out that Article 5 of the Genocide Convention required all signatories to enact legislation that makes the genocidal acts that are defined in Article 3 not just crimes under International Law, but also criminal acts under each country’s domestic laws.

      If Dutch ministers were attempting to suppress their knowledge that Israel is committing Genocide then that is “Conspiracy in genocide”, and that is certainly going to be a criminal offense under Dutch law.

  • Allan Howard

    So the very next day after the ICJ announces its provisional findings, Israel suddenly claims that UNRWA staff were involved in the Hamas attack on October 7th, and many of the main donors including the US and UK have now frozen their funding to the UN organisation. From the Guardian, posted on their website yesterday evening:

    UK to pause funding for key UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees

    Government follows example of US after allegations that staff took part in attacks on Israel last year

    The decision by the US, UK and other western nations to freeze ­funding for the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees will significantly worsen the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians have warned.

    Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Finland joined the United States, Australia and Canada in pausing funding after UNRWA, the UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine, revealed an investigation had been launched into 12 members of staff who allegedly took part in the 7 October attack led by Hamas that killed 1,140 people.

    The agency’s commissioner general, Philippe Lazzarini, on Saturday called the decision to suspend funds shocking and urged the countries involved to reverse course. “These decisions threaten our ongoing humanitarian work across the region including and especially in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

    On Friday, Lazzarini had said that Israel provided UNRWA with evidence that agency staff had been involved on 7 October.

    “I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay,” he said.

    And this from a BBC News article posted yesterday evening:

    Several countries including the UK have paused funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

    It comes after the agency announced the sacking of several of its staff over allegations they were involved in the 7 October Hamas attacks.

    The UK government said it was “appalled” by Israel’s allegations.

    The US, Australia, Italy, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany have also suspended additional funding to the UN agency.

    Created in 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, is the biggest UN agency operating in Gaza.

    It provides health care, education and other humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It employs around 13,000 people inside Gaza.

    Since Israel began its offensive in response to the 7 October attacks, UNRWA has used its facilities across Gaza to shelter hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians.

    It says it has ordered an investigation into information supplied by Israel.

    Israel has long accused different branches of the United Nations including UNRWA of bias and even of antisemitism.

    On Friday, an adviser to the Israeli prime minister told the BBC that the 7 October Hamas attacks had involved “people who are on their [UNRWA] salaries”.

    Mark Regev said there was information showing teachers working in UNRWA schools had “openly celebrated” the 7 October attacks.

    He also referred to an Israeli hostage who, on her release, said she had been “held in the house of someone who worked for UNRWA”

    Israel’s Foreign Minister, Israel Katz said he aimed to stop UNRWA operating in Gaza after the war…….

    Whether true or false – or a half-truth – what are the chances that Israel just happened to come by this information and release it to the media the day after the court ruling. I would say the chances are absolute zero. Oh, and note that in the BBC News article, they add an additional 2,000 odd to the number of Israelis killed on October 7th – ie 1,300, instead of the 1,140 the Guardian mentions.

    • Allan Howard

      And Caitlin Johnstone posted the following yesterday:

      Israel Accuses The ICJ Of (You Guessed It) Antisemitism

      “The international court of justice went above and beyond when it granted South Africa’s antisemitic request to discuss the claim of genocide in Gaza, and now refuses to reject the petition outright,” complained Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant in response to the ruling.

      “The decision of the antisemitic court in The Hague proves what was already known: This court does not seek justice, but rather the persecution of Jewish people,” said Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben Gvir.

      Yep, so South Africa’s submission to the ICJ was antisemitic, and the ICJ itself is antisemitic…… Now if only Israel had alerted us all initially that the court is antisemitic, then we would have known in advance that they were bound to find in South Africa’s favour and against Israel.

      At the rate BN and Co are going it won’t be long before practically the whole world is antisemitic – ie being condemned as antisemitic by BB and his fascist buddies in Israel and beyond!

    • Fat Jon

      Yes, it is strange how Israel claims to know so much about the October 7th event; details of rapes, beheaded babies, and even the names of those who took part plus the organisations they belong to – and yet maintain that the attack was a complete surprise to them and they are now only acting in self defence because of that attack.

  • Yeah, Right

    In these very bizarre times it is good to have the occasional hearty laugh.

    But before I get to the punchline, the setup: Article 5 of the Genocide Convention places an obligation on states to enact domestic legislation to “provide effective penalties for persons guilty of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3”

    To make (amongst others) “Complicity in genocide” a criminal offense under US law.

    So I thought to myself, well, gosh, the USA being the law-abiding country that it is Congress should have enacted such a law, so I went looking for it.

    Oh, here it is: S.1851 – Genocide Convention Implementation Act of 1987

    I doff my hat to the US Senator who sponsored that bill, I wonder who he/she was?

    Why, it was none other than “Sen. Biden, Joseph R., Jr. [D-DE]”

    As in: Genocide Joe was the Senator who placed Genocide Joe in a position where he may be charged with “Complicity in genocide” before a US Criminal Court.

    It doesn’t come any more ironic than that.

  • Anthony

    British government responds to the historic ruling by the UN world court .. by suspending funding to the UN’s humanitarian aid agency in Gaza.

    We are governed by demons no matter what their media scribblers claim. Time people recognise it and call them what they are.

    • Jack

      We are ruled by psychopaths, obviously the rulers of the west do not watch the horrible videos of massacres that coming out of Gaza by the minute on social media, they do not read the reports, testimonies from Gaza, they reject the human rights reports from various human rights organizations.
      By cutting UN-tied aid right in this man made humanitarian crisis, the west are once again, brazenly complicit in this massacre – implying they are on the board with Israel to ethnic cleansing the palestinians once and for all. And who is going to stop them? Not ICJ obviously.

      • Allan Howard

        Oh I bet they DO watch them Jack, and thoroughly enjoy them. Apart from being ruthless and devoid of a conscience and integrity and being innately fascistic, one of the main characteristics of psychopaths is that they are sadistic, and the more powerful they are the more sadistic they can be. What is happening in Gaza since October 7th is a sadist’s wet dream, contrived and orchestrated by ultra-sadistic sadists.

        These people – or should I say, beings – are so different from ordinary folk that most people on the planet can’t even begin to conceive of what they are – i.e. what they REALLY are – and THEY know it; and their suits and ties are all part of the illusion (but it’s not just men of course). And needless to say, their media sustain the illusion and conceal who and what they really are from the vast majority.

        They can act human, but they are in actual fact evil inhuman monsters.

        • Allan Howard

          And another key aspect of their make-up – psychopaths – is that they regard themselves as highly superior beings. And unfortunately, this is an integral part of Jewish teachings. I just did a quick search and it says the following in a wikipedia entry entitled ‘Jews as the chosen people’:

          According to the Israel Democracy Institute, approximately two thirds of Israeli Jews believe that Jews are the “chosen people”.

          Needless to say, if there was this all-powerful God that created the universe and all living beings, why the hell would he let something like the Holocaust happen, or wars happen, or let millions die of disease and malnutrition etc, etc, etc. I mean does any of it serve any purpose? And why on earth create a world where every passing minute, billions of creatures are eaten by billions of other creatures, often alive, including humans as well, of course.

          Yes, the universe and how it came into existence is unfathomable and, in a sense, tantamount to a miracle, as is life itself, and how it began, and how it evolved, and how the human mind evolved and all that springs from it….. But if there was a God, why wouldn’t he/she/they make themselves known to us. It would transform our reality and germinate a higher consciousness, and we would never be the same again. But instead, all we have is war, war, war, and more war, and destruction and devastation……

          • Anthony

            There is no need for that. I was referring to your government (assuming you’re British), not Jews. Compare Jeffrey Sachs, Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate, Norman Finkelstein, Chapo etc., to anybody in the British political-media class, and tell me which have been exposed as psychopaths.

  • Jack

    Uganda disowns ICJ judge over vote in Israel genocide trial
    Justice Sebutinde argued that the case against Israel was political not legal, and that ‘genocidal intent’ was unproven
    She voted against all 9 provisional measures.
    Where did she get her degree? At Idi Amin University?

    Jokes aside, it is this type of apologetic and passive stance by the outside world, ICJ included, that generate a green light to Israel to expand the war:
    Israel poised to invade Lebanon – media

    • Ian Stevenson

      According to Al Jazeera, part of her legal education was at Edinburgh where she attained a Masters of Law with distinction.
      The University gave her an honorary doctorate in 2009.
      But let’s not blame them.
      Al Jazeera says:
      “In my respectful dissenting opinion the dispute between the State of Israel and the people of Palestine is essentially and historically a political one.”
      “It is not a legal dispute susceptible to judicial settlement by the Court,” she added.
      She also said that South Africa didn’t demonstrate that the acts allegedly committed by Israel were “committed with the necessary genocidal intent, and that as a result, they are capable of falling within the scope of the Genocide Convention”.

      Experts argued that Sebutinde failed to conduct a thorough assessment of the situation.

  • Ian Stevenson

    The decision to suspend aid to UNRWA was appalling. Twelve people – out of 13,000 – are accused and not yet had the charge proven.
    A day after the ICJ ordered the aid must be immediate and effective.
    I was impressed by a former head of UNRWA on Channel 4, Chris Gunness:

    • Jack

      You cannot make stuff like this up. So the West whines about this (most likely lies by Israel to begin with) and therefore cuts ties to UNRWA….still the same West has no problem aiding and abetting a regime that now killed x30 of what Palestinians allegedly did on 7th of October!

      Yes Chris Gunness is a gem, remember some years ago where he showed true emotions:
      UNRWA Christopher Gunness breaks down in tears on live TV after attack on UN school in Gaza

      All these Israeli apologists to politicians in the West should travel to Gaza and see the death and destruction they are responsible for.

  • Allan Howard

    I was just watching a video on The Hill YouTube channel, in which some of the details in South Africa’s submission to the ICJ is being discussed – i.e. the 84 page document – and Briahna Joy Gray mentioned something I’ve never heard of before: that in 2002 George Bush and his Neocons passed a law known as The Hague Invasion Act, which would allow the US to invade The Netherlands. So I put the video on pause and immediately looked it up, and here’s some of what it says in the Wikipedia entry:

    « The American Service-Members’ Protection Act (ASPA, Title 2 of Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 107–206 (text) (PDF), H.R. 4775, 116 Stat. 820, enacted August 2, 2002), known informally as the Hague Invasion Act, is a United States federal law described as “a bill to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party.”[1] The text of the Act has been codified as subchapter II of chapter 81 of title 22, United States Code.

    The Act gives the president power to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any U.S. or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court”.[2] »'_Protection_Act

    Astonishing!….. but then again, it’s precisely what you’d expect gangsters to do – or the Cosmic Mafia, as an old friend of mine used to call them.

  • Nota Tory Fanboy

    Your analysis is definitely getting through Mr. Murray: James O’Brien (UK’s largest radio show audience) has finally got the message.

  • Mr Mark Cutts

    Just seen Craig on Judge Napolitano’s YouTube video channel. I think the Judge is a Republican but he has a genuine interest in gaining knowledge. A good listener and a clever man.

    “Plausible” being the watchword. Plausible meaning the possibility.

    The IDF are digging up Palestinian graveyards now. The “Most moral army in the world”. I’m very sure they are not.

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