GUEST BLOG: Patrick John O’Dea – “We the People”

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World Court on Trial
“The provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice in South Africa’s case against Israel under the Genocide Convention was, on balance, a victory for Israel” Alexander Gillespie, Professor of Law, University of Waikato
“While we all agree that more must be done, we must be honest about what the court did not order,”  Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. envoy to the U.N.
In the Court of global public opinion
The Defendant faces three counts
Count 1/ Dereliction of Duty
Count 2/ Hypocrisy
Count 3/ Conspiracy to prevent justice for the people of Gaza

Count 1/ On the charge of Dereliction of Duty

The defendant, is charged with dereliction of duty for not voting on South Africa’s application to the Court for a preliminary humanitarian ceasefire.

If the Judges of the World Court had voted on South Africa’s application for a ceasefire in Gaza, and if the vote had been in favour of the ceasefire application, the US ally of Israel would have been been in the unenviable position of having to use its Security Council veto to overrule the orders of the World Court.

If the Judges of the World Court had voted on South Africa’s application for a ceasefire in Gaza, and the judges voted against the ceasefire application, the majority of nations in the UN General Assembly, especially the nations of the ‘Global South would have been outraged.

The orders that the World Court did vote on, (and pass}, are vague and weak,
The World Court orders that were voted on, and passed, the US will not need to wield their power of veto to overrule the World Court
It’s a sad day for the people of Gaza and the people of the world that the World Court did not order a ceasefire
It’s sad that the World Court didn’t vote for a ceasefire order in Gaza. It’s even sadder that the World Court ‘didn’t even vote on a ceasefire order’ for Gaza
Think about that for a minute.
Imagine that the UN General Assembly was called together to vote for or against a  humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, and the UN General Assembly didn’t vote on the resolution, and instead voted on something else.

Imagine that the UN Security Council was called together to vote on a ceasefire, and instead voted on something less, something which the US wouldn’t have to use their power of veto to block. You don’t have to imagine it, this is what the World Court has done.

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Count 2 On the charge of Hypocrisy

THE HAGUE, March 16, [2022] (Reuters) – The United Nations’ top court for disputes between states ordered Russia on Wednesday to immediately halt its military operations in Ukraine, saying it was “profoundly concerned” by Moscow’s use of force.
“The Russian Federation shall immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on Feb 24, 2022 on the territory of Ukraine,” the ICJ judges said in a 13-2 decision…..
….. Kyiv also asked for emergency “provisional” measures against Russia to halt the violence before the case was heard in full. Those measures were granted on Wednesday.
……Russia’s new invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24. Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in the assault. The official U.N. civilian death toll is 406, including 27 children, though officials say the true toll is probably higher.
The United Nations’ highest court called on Russia to immediately halt its invasion of Ukraine, in a preliminary decision that is binding but may be difficult to enforce.
The preliminary decision read by Joan Donoghue, President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), was unambiguous.
“The Russian Federation shall immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on February 24, 2022, in the territory of Ukraine.”
She also addressed the widening humanitarian fallout of the war.
“The Court is acutely aware of the extent of the human tragedy that is taking place in Ukraine and is deeply concerned about the continuing loss of life and human suffering. The Court is profoundly concerned about the use of force by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, which raises very serious issues of international law,” Donoghue said.
The ICJ judges voted 13-2 in favor of the ruling. The two opposing judges hail from Russia and China.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the ICJ’s decision in a tweet, saying it amounted to what he called a “complete victory” for Ukraine in its case against Russia. He warned that ignoring the court’s order would isolate Russia even further.
The big difference between the two cases Ukraine vs. Russia and South Africa vs. Israel is that the ICJ actually put to the vote Ukraine’s application for provisional measures to halt the violence in Ukraine. But didn’t put to the vote South Africa’s application for provisional measures to halt the violence in Gaza. And the slaughter continues unhindered.
Count 3. On the charge of Conspiracy to prevent justice
The judges of the World Court are not stupid people. They know better than to vote against a ceasefire.

The vast majority of the people of the world do not support it. And would be justifiably outraged.

The judges of the World Court are not stupid people. They also know better than to vote in favour of a ceasefire.

The Western powers, particularly the US would not tolerate it.
The judges of the World Court are not stupid people. They did what maybe you or I would have done if we found ourselves in the same position caught between two powerful opposing historical forces.
The judges of the World Court knew it would be better for them, personally, if they didn’t vote either way on South Africa’s application for a ceasefire.
The judges of the World Court are not stupid people.
They knew that whatever their judgment would have been, however they had voted on the ceasefire application, the final judgement would not be made by them, but by history.
They did not want their names to go down in history as the people that voted for continuing the slaughter of the men women and children of Gaza.
The evidence of genocide is compelling. Realising that if South Africa’s application for a preliminary ceasefire order was put, that they would have to vote one way or the other, they took the coward’s way out, (and maybe we would have too) and decided not to vote on it at all. They are not stupid people, They voted on lesser issues instead. And the South African judge ad-hoc was presented with little choice but to go along with this farce.
The Vote
Only two judges weren’t shy to openly vote for the mass slaughter, and the destruction of evidence.

Only one judge wasn’t too shy to vote to allow genocidal incitement and the restriction of aid.

By fifteen votes to two, the World Court ordered Israel to – ‘prevent genocidal acts’.
Two judges, Judge Barak for Israel and Judge Siebutinde for Uganda, voted against the order to – ‘prevent genocidal acts’.

.By fifteen votes to two, the World Court ordered Israel to -‘ensure that its military does not commit any acts of genocide’.
Two judges, Judge Barak for Israel and Judge Siebutinde for Uganda, voted against the order that Israel -‘ensure that its military did not commit any acts of genocide’
By sixteen votes to one, the World Court ordered, that Israel – ‘prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide’
A conviction for the crime of genocide must prove intent. As the public statements inciting genocide made by Israeli leaders and officials are evidence of intent to commit genocide, which would end in a conviction against Israel, Judge Barak for Israel, voted for the World Court order, that Israel – ‘prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide’.
One judge, Judge Siebutinde for Uganda voted against the order that Israel – ‘prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide’. (Judge Sebutinde for Uganda voted against every order that the Court, ordered against Israel).
By sixteen votes to one, the World Court ordered, that Israel – ‘take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip’.
Judge Siebutinde for Uganda voted against the order that Israel – ‘enable the provision of urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip’.
(The day after the World Court ordered that Israel enable the provision of humanitarian assistance to Gaza. The provision of humanitarian assistance to Gaza was ‘financially crippled’ by Israel’s powerful Western allies, on grounds considered ‘spurious’ by respected commentators, Owen Jones and Helen Clark)

By fifteen votes to two, the World Court ordered Israel to – ‘prevent destruction and ensure preservation of evidence of war crimes and Genocide against members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip;Two judges, Judge Barak for Israel and Judge Siebutinde for Uganda, voted against the order to – ‘prevent the destruction of evidence of war crimes and genocide in Gaza ‘
By fifteen votes to two, the World Court ordered that Israel – ‘shall submit within one month of this order, a report with details of their efforts to comply with the orders of the Court.
You know who, voted against the Court order that Israel that Israel give a report of their efforts to comply with the orders of the Court.

Five judges gave written opinionsThree judges, Judge Xue of China, Judge Nolte of Germany and Judge Bhandari of India appended ‘Declarations’ to the preliminary orders and judgement of the Court

Two judges, Judge Barak of Israel and Judge Siebutinde of Uganda appended ‘Dissenting Opinions’ to the preliminary orders and judgement of the Court.

Dissenting Opinion of Judge Barak

Four of the five opinions were bland restatements of the arguments made in court.. The ‘Declaration of Judge Nolte was the most interesting, revealing his, and possibly other judges’ mindset.

There is strong evidence that the judges of the ICJ vote in line with the policies of the country that appoints them.

The state of Germany has filed an intervention with the World Court that, in Germany’s opinion South Africa’s case against Israel has no merit.
In his Declaration, Judge Nolte explains why he voted for orders made against Israel in a case that his country claims has no merit.

Though Germany’s Judge Nolte voted for all the Preliminary orders of the Court, Judge Nolte’s Declaration reads like a dissenting opinion against the orders of the Court, in line with his country’s opinion.,

Judge Nolte wrote of his decision to vote in support of the Court’s orders that Israel act to ‘prevent genocide’ was because he had to give more ‘weight’ to the UN account of the conditions for civilians in Gaza, ‘disputed’ by Israel, than Israel’s account of the situation in Gaza

Israel gave a 24 hour warning notice to the 1.1 million people  of Northern Gaza to evacuate to the South. Judge Nolte writes that Israel did not have genocidal intent because of this and other warnings to evacuate parts of Gaza.
In fact these notices of evacuation prove the opposite.“South Africa hardly mentioned the efforts by Israel to evacuate the civilian population from areas of hostilities;…” Judge Georg Nolte
“…it is not sufficient for South Africa to point to the terrible death and destruction
that Israel’s military operation has brought about and is continuing to bring about. The Applicant
must be expected to engage not only with the stated purpose of the operation, namely to “destroy
Hamas” and to liberate the hostages, but also with other manifest circumstances, such as the calls to
the civilian population to evacuate, an official policy and orders to soldiers not to target civilians,”
Judge Georg NolteImagine if were a citizen of Auckland which has roughly the same population and you and everyone else in Auckland were given 24 hours to evacuate the city, with no assurance of return, on threat of being considered “an associate of terrorists”

Labeling everyone who didn’t evacuate an “associate of terrorists” is clearly an incitement to genocide of the civilians who couldn’t or didn’t leave the city.

Those who commit the crime of genocide often contemplate fantasies of evacuating millions of people to somewhere else.

George Nolte’s declaration appended to the order of the Court,is almost schizophrenic, on one hand George Nolte writes that he voted for the orders of the Court “to prevent genocide” because of statements made by Israeli officials. Georg Nolte then goes on to write that he did not find it plausible that these statements by Israeli officials showed intent to commit genocide.
“…My decision to vote in favour of the measures indicated rests on the plausible claim by South Africa that certain statements by Israeli State officials, including members of its military, give rise to a real and imminent risk of irreparable prejudice to the rights of Palestinians under the Genocide Convention.” Judge Georg Nolte.
In his document of Declaration Judge Georg Nolte writes that he does not find South Africa’s case ‘plausible’

“….Even though I do not find it plausible that the military operation is being conducted with genocidal intent, I voted in favour of the measures indicated by the Court.” Judge Georg Nolte

What does Georg Nolte mean by these comments?

Did Georg Nolte agree to vote for something he didn’t agree with, because of an arrangement made with the majority of the other judges on the condition that they all agree not to hold a vote on a ceasefire?

The Verdict

On the first count, on the charge of Dereliction of Duty, The people, find the World Court guilty.
On the second count  on the charge of hypocrisy. The people, find the World Court guilty.

One day the inner workings of the World Court made in chambers will be made public.
I suspect that an arrangement was made to avoid voting on South Africa’s application for a ceasefire, on the condition that, they would vote for all the other orders, whether they agreed with them or not.
How else could one understand Judge Nolte’s Declaration that reads like a dissenting opinion to the orders he had just voted for?

On the count of conspiracy to prevent justice for the people of Gaza. We the people find the charges not proven, pending further investigation.

 

Patrick O’Dea is a staunch Unionist and human rights activist

7 COMMENTS

    • I’ll take that as a compliment. (I think). It has been said that; ‘Sometimes’, you have to be cruel to be kind. But, ‘Always’, you have to be fair.

      The unfairness of the Judges decision is that while they voted on, and for, Ukraine’s application to the court for an interim ceasefire order. They didn’t even vote on South Africa’s application for an interim ceasefire order.

      The cruelty of the judges non-decision, is the ongoing mass slaughter and starvation of innocent Palestinian civilians.

  1. The ICJ’s non-vote on South Africa’s application to the Court for a Ceasefire order is akin to Pontius Pilate washing his hands at the trial of Jesus.

    ICJ ruling falls, and feels, way short
    Decan Herald, 26 January 2024, 13:21 IST

    Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/editorial/icj-ruling-falls-and-feels-way-short-2866812

    …..It is disappointing that the International Court of Justice stopped short of ordering Israel to call a ceasefire in Gaza. More so as the court said it accepts South Africa’s contention that the “tens of thousands” of civilian casualties, the large-scale displacement, the destruction of civilian infrastructure including medical facilities and schools, the lack of access to food, water and other amenities, make a plausible case against Israel under the Genocide Convention…..
    ….– asking Israel to take all measures in its power to prevent and punish acts that are genocidal, and to ensure humanitarian measures in Gaza. Yet, inexplicably, the court did not go one logical step further to order a ceasefire though it is quite plainly necessary for the orders to be implemented…..

    Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/editorial/icj-ruling-falls-and-feels-way-short-2866812

    Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/editorial/icj-ruling-falls-and-feels-way-short-2866812

    My feeling is that despite the political pressure on the Court by the US and the other Western backers of Israel on the judges of the ICJ, they had no choice, but to find Israel had a plausible case to answer on the charge of committing genocide.
    To have not ruled that Israel has a plausible case to answer for committing genocide in Gaza, would have made the World Court a tragic laughing stock, in the eyes of the vast majority of the nations represented at the UN.
    The judges knew that if they put their names to a grotesque decision to decline South Africa’s application to the World Court, and instead ruled in favour of Israel’s application that the case be thrown out, the judges would have felt the whole weight of history, where the final judgement will be made, sitting on their shoulders.

    Squeezed on all sides, the World Court ruling that Israel was plausibly committing genocide in Gaza, but not ordering that it stop, was the littlest the World Court judges could do, and get away with.

    With no hard orders against Israel there is nothing for the US to veto. Algeria which currently occupies a rotating seat on the Security Council called the SC together to discuss the orders of the Court, but no vote was taken, because there was nothing concrete to vote on. And the US was spared the embarrassment of having to use their veto to overrule an order of the World Court.

    Algeria urges UN Security Council to demand Gaza ceasefire as it convenes over ICJ ruling
    Africanews
    Last updated: 02/02 – 17:57

    https://www.africanews.com/2024/02/02/algeria-urges-un-security-council-to-demand-gaza-ceasefire-as-it-convenes-over-icj-ruling//

    ….The executive body of the U.N convened at the request of Algeria to deliberate on the ruling issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Jan.26 concerning the provisional measures to be taken to prevent an Israeli genocide in the Gaza Strip…..
    …..US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the ICJ’s provisional measures’ order is in line with her delegation’s belief that Israel has a right to defend itself, but how it does so matters, and all operations are bound to respect international humanitarian law.
    “While we all agree that more must be done, we must be honest about what the court did not order,” namely a ceasefire, she said…..

    And so the US was let off the hook, the Security Council did not have to rule against the ICJ, and Israel’s slaughter of the Palestinians continues with no let up.
    With no binding sanction from the World Court against Israel or its backers, the genocide in Gaza is free to continue to its gory conclusion.

    Gazans fear Israeli advance on Rafah would ‘end in massacres’
    Rafah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP).
    Issued on: 09/02/2024 – 09:23
    Modified: 09/02/2024 – 13:43

    https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20240209-gazans-fear-israeli-advance-on-rafah-would-end-in-massacres

    …..Tens of thousands of tents, some no more than sheets of tarpaulin held up by metal poles or tree branches, stretch as far as the eye can see.
    Umm Ahmed al-Burai, a 59-year-old woman also from Al-Shati, is camping with her four daughters and three of her grandchildren close to an unfinished Qatari hospital in the west of Rafah.

    “We first fled to Khan Yunis, then to Khirbat al-Adas,” gradually heading south before reaching Rafah, she said.
    After Netanyahu’s remarks on Wednesday, “we took shelter near the Qatari hospital with my sister and her family.”
    If troops advance of Rafah, Burai said she feared “there will be massacres, there will be genocide.”

    “I don’t know whether we will be able to flee to Egypt, or whether we will be massacred.”…..

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