International Court of Justice Finds Wall in Palestinian Territory Is Illegal
Court of Justice Finds Wall in Palestinian Territory Is Illegal
July 9, 2004 -- The International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an
advisory opinion today that Israel's building of a wall in the occupied
Palestinian territory is illegal and said construction must stop immediately and
Israel should make reparations for any damage caused.
a request from the United Nations General Assembly, the World Court's opinion
said the Assembly and the Security Council should consider what steps to take
"to bring to an end the illegal situation" created by the wall.
By a majority
of 14 to 1, the judges found that the wall's construction breaches international
law, saying it violated principles outlined in the
UN Charter and long-standing global conventions that prohibit the threat or
use of force and the acquisition of territory that way, as well as principles
upholding the right of peoples to self-determination.
that 80 per cent of Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory now
live between the wall and the so-called Green Line marking the 1949 boundary of
Israel, the Court said the wall's route could "prejudge the future frontier
between Israel and Palestine."
The ICJ, the UN’s principal judicial organ said construction "would be
tantamount to de facto annexation" as it explained that the wall could create a
potentially permanent "fait accompli" on the ground.
noted that, combined with the Israeli settlements, which have been deplored by
the Security Council, the wall's construction alters the demographic composition
of the occupied Palestinian territory and impedes the Palestinians' right to
that Israel could not rely on a right of self-defence or on a state of necessity
to justify the wall, the Court said it was not convinced the specific route
chosen was necessary for security reasons.
also said Israel is obliged to stop construction immediately and dismantle the
sections of the wall that have already been built. They added that Israel must
nullify any laws relating to the wall's construction and make reparations for
any damage caused by its erection.
the judges found that all States should not "recognize the illegal situation
resulting from the construction of the wall" and not give any aid or assistance
in maintaining the situation.
advisory opinion, released at the ICJ's headquarters in The Hague, is
non-binding. It follows three days of court hearings in February.
the General Assembly, during an emergency special session on the occupied
Palestinian territories, adopted a resolution asking the ICJ to urgently render
an opinion on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall.