After 10 Years: ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
9 July 2014 was the 10th anniversary of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory ruling declaring illegal Israel’s construction of a separation wall in the West Bank.
On 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, issued an Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The ICJ recognized that “Israel cannot rely on a right of self-defense or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of the construction of the wall. The Court accordingly finds that the construction of the wall, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law.”
The Advisory Opinion pointed out that Israel, other States and UN have several obligations. From this point;
“Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law; it is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated.”
“Israel is under an obligation to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem.”
Not only Israel has obligations to fulfill but also the other States have:
“All States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.”
States Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention had the additional obligation to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law.
Lastly the Advisory Opinion stressed that UN, especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and the associated régime. Because according to the ICJ;
“given the powers and responsibilities of the United Nations in questions relating to international peace and security, it is the Court’s view that the construction of the wall must be deemed to be directly of concern to the United Nations.”
Additionally, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a new Report which summarizes the continuing humanitarian impact of the barrier on Palestinian rural and urban communities. According to the Report;
“ten years on, 62 per cent of the Barrier has been constructed, including 200 kilometers since the ICJ Advisory Opinion.