Posts Tagged ‘International Court of Justice’

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

May 18, 2009

by Stephen Lendman | Global Research, May 17, 2009

After two years of “underground” work, it was launched with a “successful press conference” and announcement that:

“The Russell Tribunal on Palestine seeks to reaffirm the primacy of international law as the (way to settle) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Its work will focus on “the enunciation of law by authoritative bodies. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its opinion on the (Separation Wall in Occupied Palestine, addressed relevant) “International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, as well as dozens of international resolutions concerning Palestine.”

This Tribunal will “address the failure of application of law even though it has been so clearly identified.” It begins where the ICJ “stopped: highlighting the responsibilities arising from the enunciation of law, including those of the international community, which cannot continue to shirk its obligations.”

The Russell Tribunal is part of the larger BRussell Tribunal, named after noted philosopher, mathematician, and anti-war/anti-imperialism activist Bertrand Russell (1972 – 1970). Established in 1967 to investigate Vietnam war crimes, it’s a hearing committee, most recently on the Iraq war and Bush administration imperialism. Its work continues as “the only game in town for the anti-war movement in America, Britain and Europe” – to unite non-violently for peace on various world’s hot spots, now for Occupied Palestine to expose decades of injustice against a defenseless civilian population.

National committees will be formed globally, including expert ones composed of jurists, lawyers, human rights and international law experts, weapons experts, and others “to work on the evidence against Israel and third parties” to be presented in Tribunal sessions. Two are planned, “the earliest….by the end of this year.”

Frank Barat of the Organizing Committee urges activists to spread the news and offer support for this vital project. After Israel’s unconscionable Gaza attack, it’s never been more vulnerable given mass world public outrage. It’s long past time to hold Israel accountable for its decades of crimes of war and against humanity,  flaunting international humanitarian law, waging aggressive wars, continuing an illegal occupation, expropriating Palestinian land, and committing slow-motion genocide, so far with impunity. No longer can this be tolerated. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is dedicated toward that end.

The Tribunal’s Declaration on Iraq applies to Palestine. Substituting Israel for America and Palestine for Iraq, it reads as follows:

“The (Israeli) occupation of (Palestine) is illegal and cannot be made legal. All that has derived from (it) is illegal and illegitimate and cannot gain legitimacy. The facts are incontrovertible. What are the consequences?”

“Peace, stability and democracy in (Palestine) are impossible under occupation. Foreign occupation is opposed by nature to the interests of the occupied people, as proven” by:

— the forced diaspora;

— many others internally displaced or in refugee camps for decades;

— harsh military subjugation;

— a regimented matrix of control;

— the genocidal Gaza siege;

— state-sponsored mass incarceration, violence, and torture;

— the flaunting of international law and dozens of UN resolutions;

— targeted assassinations;

— the many tens of thousands of Palestinians killed, injured, or otherwise grievously harmed;

— massive land theft and home demolitions;

— the lack of judicial redress;

— denying all rights to non-Jews; and

— a decades-long reign of terror against defenseless Palestinian civilians.

Western propaganda tries to justify the unjustifiable, vilify ordinary people, call the legitimate government “terrorist,” rationalize savage attacks as self-defense, reject the rights of the occupied, and deny their self-determination.

“In (Palestine, people) resist the occupation by all means (including armed struggle), in accordance with international law. “The Commission on Human Rights has routinely reaffirmed” it. So have numerous General Assembly resolutions. The March 1987 Geneva Declaration on Terrorism states:

“Terrorism originates from the statist system of structural violence and domination that denies the right of self-determination to peoples….that inflicts a gross and consistent pattern of violations of fundamental human rights….or that perpetuates military aggression and overt or covert intervention directed against the territorial integrity or political independence of other states,” such as Palestine.

The UN General Assembly has “repeatedly recognized” the rights of “peoples who are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination (to) have the right to use force to accomplish their objectives within the framework of international humanitarian law.”

It also recognizes the legitimacy of self-determination seeking national liberation movements and their right to strive for and receive appropriate support for their struggle. Further, under the UN Charter’s Article 51, “individual or collective self-defense (shall not be “impair(ed) to respond against) an armed attack.”

In other words, armed force is a legitimate form of self-defense as distinguished from “acts of international terrorism,” especially by one state against another or any group, organization, or individual. Israel refuses to accept this. It continues an illegal occupation, calls armed resistance “terrorism,” and imposes its will oppressively and illegally.

World leaders “continue to justify the negation of popular sovereignty under the rubric of (fighting terrorism), criminalizing not only resistance but also humanitarian assistance to a besieged (and beleaguered) people. Under international law, (Palestinian freedom-fighters) constitute a national liberation movement. Recognition of (them) is consequently a right, (an obligation, and) not an option.” World leaders have a duty to hold Israel accountable under the law and no longer support its crimes.

Palestine “cannot recover lasting stability, unity and territorial integrity until its sovereignty is (recognized, affirmed,) guaranteed,” and enforced by the world international community.

“If (world leaders) and (Israel want) peace, stability and democracy in (Palestine), they should accept that only the (Palestinian) resistance – armed, civil and political – can achieve these by securing the interests of (their) people. (Their) first demand….is the unconditional withdrawal of (Israeli forces) illegally occupying” their land.

Palestinians are the only legitimate force to secure their own security and rights under international law. “All laws, contracts (and other occupation-related) agreements….are unequivocally null and void. According to international law and the will of the (Palestinian) people, total sovereignty” over Palestine, its resources, culture, and all else (past, present, and future) rests in (their own) hands.

Further, international law demands that full “compensation….be paid” to compensate for what Israel plundered and destroyed. Palestinians want self-determination and “long-term peace” and security. They have every right to expect it. “We appeal to all peace loving people in the world to work to support” their struggle. Regional “peace, democracy, progress” and justice depend on it. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is committed to work toward this end. Nothing short of it is acceptable.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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International Law and Israel’s War on Gaza

January 25, 2009

by Francis A. Boyle

Global Research, January 24, 2009

mwcnews.net

When the Oslo Document was originally presented by the Israeli government to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations in the Fall of 1992, it was rejected by the Delegation because it obviously constituted a bantustan. This document carried out Menachem Begin’s disingenuous misinterpretation of the Camp David Accords–expressly rejected by U.S. President Jimmy Carter–that all they called for was autonomy for the people and not for the land too.

Soon thereafter, unbeknownst to the Delegation and to almost everyone else, the Israeli government opened up a secret channel of negotiations in Norway. There the Israeli government re-presented the document that had already been rejected by the Palestinian Delegation in Washington, D.C. It was this document, with very minor modifications, that was later signed at the White House on 13 September 1993.

Before the signing ceremony, I commented to a high-level official of the Palestine Liberation Organization: “This document is like a straight-jacket. It will be very difficult to negotiate your way out of it.” This PLO official agreed with my assessment and responded: “Yes, you are right. It will depend upon our negotiating skill.”

Of course I have great respect for Palestinian negotiators. They have done the best they can negotiating in good faith with the Israeli government that has been invariably backed up by the United States. But there has never been any good faith on the part of the Israeli government either before, during or after Oslo. Ditto for the United States.

Even if Oslo had succeeded, it would have resulted in the imposition of a bantustan upon the Palestinian People. But Oslo has run its course! Therefore, it is my purpose here today to chart a NEW DIRECTION for the Palestinian People to consider.

An agenda for an international legal response:

First, we must immediately move for the de facto suspension of Israel throughout the entirety of the United Nations System, including the General Assembly and all U.N. subsidiary organs and bodies. We must do to Israel what the U.N. General Assembly has done to the genocidal rump Yugoslavia and to the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa! Here the legal basis for the de facto suspension of Israel at the U.N. is quite simple:

As a condition for its admission to the United Nations Organization, Israel formally agreed to accept General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) (1947) (partition/Jerusalem trusteeship) and General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) (1948) (Palestinian right of return), inter alia. Nevertheless, the government of Israel has expressly repudiated both Resolution 181 (II) and Resolution 194 (III). Therefore, Israel has violated its conditions for admission to U.N. membership and thus must be suspended on a de facto basis from any participation throughout the entire United Nations System.

Second, any further negotiations with Israel must be conducted on the basis of Resolution 181 (II) and its borders; Resolution 194 (III); subsequent General Assembly resolutions and Security Council resolutions; the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949; the 1907 Hague Regulations; and other relevant principles of public international law.

Third, we must abandon the fiction and the fraud that the United States government is an “honest broker.” The United States government has never been an honest broker from well before the very outset of these negotiations in 1991. Rather, the United States has invariably sided with Israel against the Palestinians. We need to establish some type of international framework to sponsor these negotiations where the Palestinian negotiators will not be subjected to the continual bullying, threats, harassment, intimidation and outright lies perpetrated by the United States government.

Fourth, we must move to have the U.N. General Assembly impose economic, diplomatic, and travel sanctions upon Israel pursuant to the terms of the Uniting for Peace Resolution (1950), whose Emergency Special Session on Palestine is now in recess.

Fifth, the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine must sue Israel before the International Court of Justice in The Hague for inflicting acts of genocide against the Palestinian People in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention!

Sixth, An International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI) can be established by the UN General Assembly as a “subsidiary organ” under article 22 of the UN Charter. Article 22 of the UN Charter states the UN General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions. The purpose of the ICTI would be to investigate and Prosecute suspected Israeli war criminals for offences against the Palestinian people.

On January 4, 2009, Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire wrote to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon and Father Miguel D’Escoto President of United Nations General assembly adding her voice to the many calls from International Jurists, Human rights Organizations, and individuals, for the UN General Assembly to seriously consider establishing an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel in view of the ongoing Israeli atrocities against the people of Gaza and Palestine.

Francis A. Boyle is Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois. He was Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations (1991-93)

Singing the Praise of Fruitless Peace Talks

December 23, 2008

Stuart Littlewood | uruknet.info, December 22, 2008

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrats’ new ‘shadow’ foreign secretary here in Britain, reports on his first trip to Palestine/Israel in TotallyJewish.com, a strange choice of platform for a self-styled ‘liberal’.

His biggest impression, he says, was optimism for the peace process: “I developed a strong sense that both sides trusted each other.”

But as far as I’m aware he didn’t meet the Palestine side – only the Fatah faction, whose cosiness with Israel is the stuff of scandal.

Last week, in a display of mutual admiration between US president Bush and Fatah’s president Abbas, Bush reportedly said: “People must recognise that we have made a good deal of progress” and Middle East peace talks are now “irreversible”. Abbas, whose days are also numbered, praised the outgoing US president saying: “There is no doubt that we will continue these efforts and the peace negotiations, but everything will be based on the foundation, and that foundation was laid by you during your time in office.”

But when Abbas’s team was asked if Bush would press Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza, it seemed the US president would not commit to negotiating an end to the siege. So we can see how devoted they actually are to the cause of peace.

Meanwhile the Quartet – America, the EU, Russia and the United Nations – says there’s no turning back from US-led talks between Israel and the Palestinians, despite their spectacular lack of progress.

So everyone in high places is singing from the same hymn-sheet in praise of a fruitless peace process.

They know perfectly well, of course, that the Israelis have for decades played for time, stringing the world along and whining that they have “no partner for peace” while continuing to seize and colonize all the land and water resources needed to fulfill the Zionist dream of a Greater Israel from the Jordan to the Mediterranean… or, some say, the Euphrates to the Nile. To that end the regime has endlessly violated UN resolutions, international law and the norms of human decency.

Respected Israeli expert Jeff Halper has warned that Israel intends to make its illegal occupation permanent, hence the frenzied rush to establish irreversible facts on the ground like the monstrous settlements and their supporting infrastructure, to press ahead with further demolition of Arab homes and more ethnic cleansing, and to fracture the remnants of Palestine so that they cannot possibly be drawn together to form a viable, independent state.

Anyone who bothers to read the manifestos of the Likud and Kadima parties understands that it is Israel which is no partner for peace, never was and probably never will be.

So, World leaders, what’s your game? Why should Palestinians have to talk to their tormentors? The path to peace is clearly marked in countless rulings by the United Nations and by the International Court of Justice. These are waiting to be implemented and enforced. Here are some examples…

• Resolution 181 (the Partition Plan of 1947 accepted by the Jews) declares Jerusalem, including Bethlehem and Beit Sahour, a corpus separatum – to be run under an international UN administration. This was reiterated in Resolution 303 a year later. We’re still waiting.
• Resolution 194: resolves that refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage. That was 60 years ago.
• Resolution 237: Israel to allow return of the ‘new’ 1967 Palestinian refugees.
• Resolution 242: emphasizes the inadmissibility of acquiring territory by war and calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from land occupied in 1967.
• Resolution 252: declares ‘invalid’ Israel’s attempts to unify Jerusalem as the Jewish capital.
• Resolution 271: condemns Israel’s failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem.
• Resolution 298: deplores Israel’s changing of the status of Jerusalem.
• Resolution 446: determines that Israeli settlements are a ‘serious obstruction’ to peace and calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
• Resolution 452: calls on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territories.
• Resolution 465: deplores Israel’s settlements and asks all member states not to assist Israel’s settlements program.
• Resolution 469: strongly deplores Israel’s failure to observe the Council’s order not to deport Palestinians.
• Resolution 471: expresses deep concern’ at Israel’s failure to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
• Resolution 476: reiterates that Israel’s claims to Jerusalem are null and void.
• Resolution 478: censures Israel in the strongest terms for its claim to Jerusalem in its Basic Law.
• Resolution 605: strongly deplores Israel’s policies and practices denying the human rights of Palestinians.
• Resolution 608: deeply regrets that Israel has defied the United Nations and deported Palestinian civilians.
• Resolution 641: deplores Israel’s continuing deportation of Palestinians.
• Resolution 673: deplores Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the United Nations.
• Resolution 681: deplores Israel’s resumption of the deportation of Palestinians.
• Resolution 694: deplores Israel’s deportation of Palestinians and calls on it to ensure their safe and immediate return.
• Resolution 726: strongly condemns Israel’s deportation of Palestinians.
• Resolution 799: ditto

The Fourth Geneva Convention is supposed to protect civilians under military occupation…. no violence to life or person, no cruelty or torture; no taking of hostages; no outrages upon personal dignity; no collective punishment, no sentencing or executions unless ordered by a properly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees demanded by civilised peoples.

In 2004 the International Court of Justice – that “principal judicial organ of the United Nations” – ruled that the Separation Wall is illegal and must be dismantled, and Israel must compensate Palestinians for damage. Furthermore, said the ICJ, all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the Wall and to ensure Israel complies with international humanitarian law.

Israel is still building it.

The quarrel is clearly between the international community and Israel. So please, World leaders, spare us all this tosh about peace negotiations. There can be no peace while one party has his jackboot on the other’s throat. The major powers must first ensure all relevant UN resolutions are respected and international law enforced, not swept under the carpet. The time for Palestinians to sit down and talk is when Israel’s forces are pulled back, as required, behind the 1967 border.

What if Israel won’t comply? Easy: suspend trade and technical co-operation.

Mr Davey said when asked about his trip: “My one regret was not being allowed to visit Gaza, something I hope to put right as soon as my diary allows.” Not allowed to? By whom? Did the Israeli authorities stop him, just as they stopped a surgeon friend from entering Gaza a month ago with a team of medics, stopped the Pope’s nuncio and stopped the UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Professor Richard Falk, who is due to report on the situation to the UN Human Rights Council in March?

Mr Davey didn’t explain. But expressing his intention to visit Gaza does him credit. He certainly won’t get a balanced view until he sees for himself and meets Hamas. I wish him well. We are in desperate need of champions for justice, a rare breed in international politics these days.

-Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.

:: Article nr. 49812 sent on 23-dec-2008 10:50 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=49812


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