Thursday, July 9, 2009

Israel Still Building the Wall Five Years After ICJ Advisory Opinion

Tomorrow marks the five-year anniversary of an Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice.  In that opinion, the ICJ ruled by a vote of 14-1 that Israel could lawfully build such a wall on its own territory as a valid security measure, but that the construction of a wall in occupied territory violated international law.  Israel claimed that its wall is only a temporary security measure.  The ICJ said that the specific route chosen was unnecessary to achieve Israel's security objective, with most of the barrier running inside the West Bank, instead of the so-called Green Line, or 1949 Armistice Line.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement to mark the fifth anniversary of the ICJ Advisory Opinion, stating that Israel “continues to disregard the views of the ICJ, and the Wall remains under construction,” being 60 per cent completed.

The High Commissioner also stated that more than 600 closures block Palestinians’ movement in the West Bank, and that an increasingly segregated road system restricts travel for Palestinians while Israelis can move freely.  The Commissioner stated that these constraints curtail Palestinians’ freedom of movement and impede a host of other human rights, including the right to work, health, education, and an adequate standard of living.  “And Palestinian residents currently lack meaningful access to an effective remedy – judicial or otherwise – for their plight,” OHCHR said, calling on Israel to comply with the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion and make reparations for any damage caused.

The ICJ's advisory opinion on the Wall will be one of the ICJ decisions discussed on August 1, 2009 at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting during a CLE program on the International Court of Justice.


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