LAW not War update
Posted: 12th February 2024
In this Update:
Current developments at the International Court of Justice
Feb 2: Ukraine v Russia genocide case: ICJ delivers judgment on preliminary objections;
Feb 6: Incoming judges sworn in, including two Speakers from the LAW not War launch;
Feb 19: Public hearings on the ICJ Advisory Opinion on Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
is pleased to bring you this update from Legal Alternatives to War
(LAW not War). We also remind you of the invitation to your organization to join LAW
not War as participating organization in order to receive further LAW
not War updates and be informed of relevant developments and events.
Ukraine v Russia genocide case: ICJ delivers judgment on preliminary objections.
On February 2, the ICJ
delivered its judgment
on preliminary objections from Russia in the case Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
(Ukraine v. Russian Federation: 32 States intervening).
Ukraine alleges in their case against the Russian Federation that:
- Russia falsely accused Ukraine of committing genocide and used this as justification to launch its invasion against Ukraine;
- Russia committed violations of the Genocide Convention in declaring the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic to be independent from Ukraine, and by launching its invasion of Ukraine on 21 February, 2022.
The Russian Federation argued that the ICJ
did not have jurisdiction to consider the allegations and that they were inadmissible.
In its judgment, the ICJ
concluded that it had jurisdiction to consider the first allegation of Ukraine and that this was admissible
, but that it does not have jurisdiction under the Genocide Convention to consider the second allegation of Ukraine and that this was inadmissible
. See Summary of the Judgment
In turning down the second allegation of Ukraine, the ICJ
explained that in this case they are constrained by the obligations under the Genocide convention, and cannot apply law extrinsic to the Convention, including law governing the use of force.
This demonstrates one of the key differences between ICJ
cases based on jurisdiction found in treaties, where the Court can only consider the obligations under the treaty concerned
, and jurisdiction found under the Declarations of Acceptance of ICJ Jurisdiction
(under Article 36 of the ICJ
Statute). In the latter case, the ICJ
is generally able to apply all law relevant to a dispute between the parties
. This is one of the reasons why the primary goal of the LAW not War campaign
is to work for the acceptance by all States of ICJ
jurisdiction under Article 36.
ICJ decision on jurisdiction for Ukraine v Russia (Genocide Convention)
The Court’s decision that it has jurisdiction to consider Ukraine’s allegation that Russia falsely accused Ukraine of genocide demonstrates the importance of ICJ jurisdiction being included in the Genocide Convention. However, the Court’s decision that it does not have jurisdiction, under the Genocide Convention, to address violations of law outside the convention (such as international law governing the use of force) demonstrates why its important to build general acceptance of ICJ jurisdiction through States’ Declarations under Article 36 of the ICJ Statute. This is the primary goal of the LAW not War campaign.
ICJ swears in to office four judges
The new judges include two who were speakers at LAW not War launch
On Tuesday 6 February the ICJ
held a public ceremony for swearing into office
the new judges Bogdan-Lucian Aurescu (Romania), Sarah Hull Cleveland (USA), Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo Verduzco (Mexico) and Dire Tladi (South Africa). The new judges solemnly declared that they will exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously. They will serve nine-year terms.
Judges Aurescu and Gómez Robledo were speakers at the launch event of LAW not War
in New York on October 23, 2023, just two weeks before they were elected to be ICJ
judges by the UN Security Council and General Assembly.
Mr Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo and Mr Bogdan-Lucian Aurescu being sworn in as ICJ
Judges. Mr Robledo and Mr Aurescu were speakers at the public launch of Legal Alternatives to War (LAW not War) on October 23, 2023, prior to being elected to the ICJ
Public hearings on the ICJ Advisory Opinion on Israel and Palestine
February 19-26, 2024
On February 9, 2024, the ICJ announced
that from February 19-26 it will hold public hearings on the request for an Advisory Opinion in respect of the Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
. Fifty-two States and three international organizations have expressed their intention to participate in the oral proceedings before the Court.
In it’s request for the Advisory Opinion
, the UN General Assembly asks the ICJ
- (a) What are the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures?
- (b) How do the policies and practices of Israel referred to in paragraph 18 (a) above affect the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal consequences that arise for all States and the United Nations from this status?”
The hearings will be streamed live and on demand (VOD) in the two official languages of the Court on the Court’s website
and on UN Web TV
LAW not War global meeting of participating organizations
Online. February 20, 2024
Contact LAW not War if you are interested in participating in the meeting. LAW not War is a global coalition and campaign to enhance the jurisdiction and use of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in order to assist countries in resolving international disputes peacefully rather than through recourse to the threat or use of force.
The authority of the ICJ
within the United Nations system, and the unique contribution the ICJ
plays with respect to the application of the law, ensures that its decisions exert considerable influence and impact on the parties and other stakeholders in its cases. Better use of this authority should be made to end the scourge of war
, as envisaged in the UN Charter. LAW not War
was launched in October 2023 by a coalition of seven co-sponsoring organizations and more than 80 participating organizations (see LAW not War
for the list of organizations). This meeting will provide opportunities to learn more about the role of the ICJ
and discuss strategies to encourage greater acceptance and use of ICJ
jurisdiction. The meeting is open for representatives of LAW not War participating organizations and organizations that are considering joining LAW not War. Contact LAW not War
if you are interested in participating in the meeting. It will be held in two sessions – one timed to suit participants from Asia/Pacific, the other timed to suit participants from the Americas/Africa/Europe/Middle East.