Case against Israel in ICJ

Case against Israel in ICJ

This article covers ‘Daily Current Affairs’ and the topic details of “Case against Israel in International Court of Justice’’. This topic is relevant in the “International Relations & Institutions” section of the UPSC CSE exam.

UPSC MAINS GS2 SYLLABUS : Important International Institutions

Why in the News?

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has been asked to take into account the likelihood that Israel is violating its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention by carrying out genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza. South Africa was the country to bring up this case in ICJ.


Allegations and requests of South Africa

  • In its lawsuit, South Africa claims that Israel, a signatory to the Genocide agreement, has committed crimes that fall within the criteria of the agreement.
  • Statements from Israeli leaders stating explicit purpose and allegations that Israel neglected to stop genocide or punish incitement to genocide are among the evidence put forth by South Africa.
  • According to reports, the claimed acts took place in Gaza, prompting South Africa to declare that a genocide is taking on right now.
  • South Africa is also requesting immediate remedies from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in order to stop further harm to Palestinian rights.
  • The actions include stopping all Israeli military activities in Gaza right now, abiding by the terms of the Genocide Convention, ending forcible relocation and deportation, and guaranteeing access to medical supplies and humanitarian aid.



About 1948 Genocide Convention of UN

  • The International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is a global human rights convention that formalised the heinous act of genocide for for the very first time.On December 9, 1948, the UN General Assembly enacted the first human rights convention, which went into force on January 12, 1951.
  • Definition of Genocide as per convention :
    According to the current Convention, any of the following kinds of acts carried out with the intention of completely or partially eradicating a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group are considered acts of genocide: 1 Murdering the members of the group.
    2 Causing substantial bodily or mental harm to anybody in the group.
    3 purposefully causing the collective conditions of existence to be such that it is physically destroyed in whole or in part
    4 enforcing policies designed to stop births inside the community.
    5 forcing the group’s youngsters to be transferred to another group carried out with the intention of eradicating a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group entirely or in part.
  • According to the convention, any participating nation may ask the appropriate UN bodies to take the required steps to stop and punish crimes of genocide.
  • It requires state parties to take action, such as passing pertinent legislation and prosecuting offenders, in order to prevent or punish the crime of genocide.
  • Even if these crimes are committed widely, it does not prove genocide.
  • Genocide is distinguished from war crimes, ethnic purges, and crimes against mankind by the intentional intent to destroy.
  • Furthermore, because the ICJ does not automatically have jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and other transgressions do not give States a way to file a complaint with the court.

International Court of Justice :
The primary judicial body inside the United Nations (UN) is the International Court of Justice (ICJ).The United Nations Charter established it in June 1945, and it started operations in April 1946.

  • The Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, serves as the Court’s seat. Of the six main UN organs, it is the only one that is not based in New York City.
  • French and English are the official languages of ICJ

Formation of ICJ =

  • The Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) was superseded by the ICJ. The League of Nations was responsible for founding PCIJ.
  • The United Nations and International Court of Justice (ICJ) took the place of the League of Nations and PCIJ after World War II.
  • Judge José Gustavo Guerrero of El Salvador, who served as the PCIJ’s final president, was officially disbanded in April 1946 and appointed as the first president of the ICJ.

Functions of ICJ : To provide advisory views on legal matters brought to it by authorised United Nations institutions and specialised agencies, and to resolve legal conflicts brought to it by States in conformity with international law.

  • Judges in ICJ :
    The UN Security Council and General Assembly vote concurrently but independently to choose the “15 judges” that make up the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for nine-year mandates.
  • A candidate needs to win the majority of the votes in both houses in order to be elected; this requirement occasionally calls for additional voting rounds.
  • Every 3 years, elections are held to elect a third of the court at the UN Headquarters in New York during the UNGA meeting.The judges that are chosen at the triennial election take office on February 6 of the subsequent year.
  • By secret ballot, the court’s president and vice president are chosen for three-year periods. Judges can run for office again.
  • There have been four Indian members of the ICJ. Since 2012, Justice Dalveer Bhandari, a former Supreme Court justice, has been a member of the ICJ.
  • Who can file cases at the court ?
    In disputes , only States may present before the Court. This basically refers to the 193 United Nations Members as of right now.
  • Applications from private parties such as corporations, non-governmental organisations, or people are outside the purview of the Court. It cannot assist them in interacting with national authorities or offer them legal guidance.
  • The ICJ law immediately binds every member of the UN. But this does not automatically grant the ICJ jurisdiction over issues involving them.Only with the agreement of both parties does the ICJ acquire jurisdiction.
  • The parties to a case are legally bound by the ICJ’s final ruling.An appeals process is not present. At most, it could be open to interpretation or amendment in the event that a new fact comes to light.
  • The International Court of Justice’s authority is dependent on nations’ desire to follow its rulings, and it has no means of ensuring that they are followed.

Download Yojna daily current affairs eng med 13th Jan 2024</3>

Prelims practice question

Q1) Which of the following statements regarding the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is correct?
1 The ICJ has jurisdiction over criminal cases only.
2 The ICJ has jurisdiction over disputes between states.
3 Judges are elected by the General Assembly.
Which of the following statements are incorrect?
1 only
1 and 2
2 and 3
1 and 3


Q2) What is the primary function of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)?

Enforcing international law.
Resolving disputes between states.
Conducting criminal trials.
Which statement is correct?
A) 1 only
B) 2 only
C) 1 and 2
D) 2 and 3

Answer: B

Mains practice question

Q1) Evaluate the effectiveness of the International Court of Justice in addressing human rights issues. Discuss specific cases where the ICJ has succeeded or faced limitations in dealing with human rights violations.

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