London - Today, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hear South Africa’s challenge against Israel for alleged violations of the Genocide Convention in Gaza. The ICJ hearing is a welcome move as it will present compelling evidence of Israel’s genocidal campaign. The overwhelming evidence of intent and implementation is manifest in Israel’s brutal onslaught on Gaza. It will force the apartheid regime and its supporters to confront the horrors it has sought to hide and justify. However, the 20 year experience of CAGE International in both domestic and international courts leads us to believe that little should be expected in the way of justice. There are few, if any instances, of judges resisting the enormous political pressure they face in cases involving the brutal abuse of power. The “War on Terror” narrative has ushered in an age when the Courts have consistently ignored any protection enshrined in domestic and international law.
The ICJ is unlikely to make a decision on whether Israel is carrying out genocide for several years. This week’s hearing is only to determine whether it should make an interim order for Israel to halt its offensive and withdraw from Gaza. Even if it were to do so, the ICJ has no effective means of implementing the order save by way of a resolution from the UN Security Council. The US has vetoed Security Council resolutions critical of Israel no less than 89 times and is unlikely to veer away from its function as Israel’s political shield. Like Russia in relation to the ICJ ruling on its invasion of Ukraine, the US has itself refused to comply with ICJ judgments against it in cases brought by Nicaragua (1986) and Iran (2018).
In recent decades, we have witnessed the demise of the so called “rules based international order“ because the UN Security Council has failed to effectively intervene to prevent acts of genocide and war crimes in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and against the Uyghurs in China. On the contrary, the Security Council itself voted to impose genocidal sanctions on Iraq causing the deaths of approximately half a million children, a price deemed ‘worth paying’ by then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. More recently, international institutions have failed to hold senior political figures such as Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, and George Bush, the architects of these invasions, accountable, raising serious questions about their credibility. Too often they serve to uphold Western domination rather than to deliver justice.
This duplicity and hypocrisy has already been seen at the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose current chief prosecutor, Karim Khan KC, has failed to issue a warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrest as he did with Vladimir Putin. Khan has jettisoned any credibility in 2021, he decided that the ICC would no longer be investigating alleged war crimes committed by NATO forces in Afghanistan with the focus being limited to allegations against the Taliban and IS-KP.
Supporters of Palestinian liberation should understand that the ICJ's verdict on the issue of Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza is unlikely to deliver justice. The escalating death toll reveals a global failure to hold the perpetrators and sponsors to account. What it is likely to achieve is the isolation of the Israeli state in the court of public opinion, a wider discussion on the inherently racist and violent nature of Zionism, and the acknowledgement that Palestinians have the right to resist their aggressors. If international law cannot be relied upon to protect the Palestinian people from genocide then their only option is to exercise their inalienable right to self-defence.
CAGE International calls for the re-evaluation of the current international institutions and demands transparency, accountability and impartiality from such bodies that were created to promote both international peace as well as justice. The former cannot be achieved in the absence of the latter.
Image courtesy of UN Photos on Flikr