19 Apr 2024
Thursday 22 February 2024 - 19:38
Story Code : 415877
Source : Mehr News

Iran urges ICJ to stop Zionist policies against Palestinians

The Iran Project : Iran's oral statement in the advisory proceedings concerning the legal consequences resulting from the policies and practices of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories was published.
International Court of Justice(ICJ)
International Court of Justice(ICJ)
According to The Iran Project,Reza Najafi read Iran’s statement during the oral proceedings at the ICJ on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories on Thursday.

The full text of the statement reads as follows;

I. Introduction

Mr. President, Distinguished Members of the Court, 

It is indeed an honor to appear before the International Court of Justice on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Enjoying a longstanding principled position in support of the full realization of the inherent right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, the Islamic Republic of Iran follows this advisory proceeding of the Court with great interest.

What makes this proceeding even more prominent and the focus of attention of almost every nation in the world, is its concurrence with the ongoing appalling situation in Palestine, particularly the Gaza Strip.

To indicate how severe and grave the situation in Gaza is, I merely refer to three United Nations (UN) and World Health Organizations (WHO) reports: 

First) According to the UN Secretary-General, as a result of Israeli military operations, the entire population is enduring destruction at a scale and speed without parallel in recent history, and 2.2 million Palestinians there struggling to simply make it through another day without proper shelter, heating, sanitary facilities, food, and drinking water;

Second) According to the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, “for children in particular, there is no food, no water, no school; nothing but the terrifying sounds of war, day in and day out, and its people are witnessing daily threats to their very existence — while the world watches on”; and 

Third) According to the WHO, the population in Gaza is facing extreme hunger, with insufficient food and high levels of malnutrition. Yet, the conditions in Gaza are becoming much worse every day.

  We remain at a turning point in the history of mankind; the opinion of this Court can set the ground for saving the lives of thousands of innocent women and children, and contribute to the legitimate demand of a people deprived of their inherent right to self-determination for decades. 

  It is hoped that this Court will, once more, make history, by giving a landmark advisory opinion in support of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people which may finally help cease the illegal prolonged occupation of Palestine. 

Mr. President, Members of the Court,

In our oral statement, we submit that: 

Firstly, this Court has jurisdiction to give the advisory opinion requested;

Secondly, there are legal consequences arising from the prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territories by the Israeli occupying regime in violation of the right of the Palestinian people who have never experienced the right to self-determination; and 

Thirdly, having elaborated on the legal consequences that arise for all States and the United Nations from this status, I will reiterate the inclusive plan previously submitted by the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations for the realization of the right of Palestinians to self-determination.  

II. Jurisdiction of the Court

Mr. President, Members of the Court,  

First, we submit that the Court has jurisdiction to render the advisory opinion requested by the General Assembly in resolution 77/247 of 30 December 2022. 

Here we believe that the elements of Article 65 (1) of the Statute of the Court namely the existence of the “legal question” and the authorized “body” i.e. the General Assembly, are fulfilled in this case. That said, the ICJ, as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations can assist the General Assembly to exercise its functions under the UN Charter by rendering the Advisory Opinion requested. 

Therefore, just as the Court has established its jurisdiction in the advisory opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Wall), it has jurisdiction in the present case based on the same grounds; moreover, there is no compelling reason for declining to give an advisory opinion.

III. The Legal Consequences arising from the ongoing violation of the right of the Palestinians to self-determination

Mr. President, Members of the Court,

Now I turn to the first section of our reasoning regarding the merits of the matter; here, we first argue that the Israeli occupying regime has violated, and continues to violate, on several grounds, the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.

The legal status of the right to self-determination is generally understood to be attributed to “peoples” and grounded first in the Charter of the United Nations, in several UN General Assembly resolutions, and its inclusion in common Article 1 to the two International Covenants of Human Rights. As such, “all peoples have the right freely to determine, without external interference, their political status and their place in the international community and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and every State has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provisions of the Charter”. 

In line with the elements mentioned in the question raised for the request of advisory opinion in the General Assembly resolution, I briefly present my arguments on a series of measures that constitute the ongoing violation by the Israeli occupying regime; these are as follows: 

Prolonged occupation; 

Altering the demographic composition in the occupied territories;

Altering the character and status of the Holy City of Al-Quds; 

Discriminatory measures; and 

Violation of the right of the Palestinian people to permanent sovereignty over their natural resources.   

Prolonged occupation 

First and foremost, the prolonged occupation by the Israeli occupying regime confirms its intention to make it permanent, in violation of the principle of prohibition of the acquisition of territory by force.  

The occupation of the Palestinian territories is the longest military occupation existing today. The right to self-determination of the Palestinian people continues to be violated as long as this occupation ages; this ongoing violation thwarts Palestine’s ability to rely on State-based rights and obligations under international law, depriving them of their inalienable right to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice, and dignity.

Thus, we request the Court to consider the very fact of prolongation of the occupation as an indicator of the violation of the right of the Palestinians to self-determination. 

Altering the demographic composition in the occupied territories 

Mr. President, Members of the Court,

Apart from prolonged occupation, altering the demographic composition in the occupied territories has led to a violation of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. The UN Security Council has a bulk of resolutions concerning the occupation of Palestinian territories, all condemning, among others, altering the demographic composition of these territories by the Israeli Occupying Power. Hence, it is a well-established fact that the Israeli occupying regime has grossly violated international law on an ongoing basis; 

Article 49 (6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention reads: 

“the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” 

Apart from that, the Court, in its opinion in the Wall case declared that: 

 “[The] provision prohibits not only deportations or forced transfers of the population such as those carried out during the Second World War but also any measures taken by an Occupying Power in order to organize or encourage transfers of parts of its own population into the occupied territory.” 

Furthermore, the Court affirmed, in the same case, the violation of the right to self-determination based on measures taken by the Occupying Power which has led to a change in the demographic composition of Palestine.

Mr. President, Members of the Court, 

Forcible deportation of civilian populations, widely known for one of its most infamous instances “Nakba Day”, has a long history. Essentially, with the illegal formation of the Israeli occupying regime in 1948 instead of the former British Mandate of Palestine, the demographic composition changed significantly with the displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians. In fact, the Israeli occupying regime was illegally established that year through a violent, arbitrary process that involved the deportation or forcible transfer of hundreds of thousands of native Palestinians from their land to create a Majority-Jewish colony, in line with the demands of the Zionist movement. 

By denying the right to return forcibly deported Palestinians to Palestine, the Israeli regime continues to deprive those Palestinians of their right to live in their homeland. The majority of Palestinians live outside Palestine mainly in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, with many of them remaining stateless living in crowded refugee camps that lack basic infrastructure.  

Needless to say, forcible displacement of the civilian population, is of such a high significance that has been defined as a war crime under Article 8 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.  

Altering the character and status of the Holy City of Al-Quds 

Mr. President, 

The next measure that has violated the right of self-determination of Palestinians, is altering the character and status of the Holy City of Al-Quds. The actions taken by the Israeli occupying regime with regard to the Holy City of Al-Quds have utterly disregarded the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.

Altering the character and status of Al-Quds has had significant religious and cultural implications for the Palestinian people. Al-Quds Al-Sharif holds a remarkable religious and historical significance for Palestinians, as well as for Muslims, Christians, and Jews worldwide. By altering the status quo of the City and its holy sites, the Israeli occupying regime has undermined the cultural heritage and identity of the Palestinian people and has further violated their right to self-determination.

The construction and expansion of settlements, along with the violation of Palestinians’ right to free movement and the revocation of residency permits, have altered the demographic and cultural character of the City as well. 

Discriminatory measures

Mr. President, Members of the Court, 

The next series of measures depriving the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination comprise discriminatory measures targeting the basic rights of the people in the occupied territories. This has been underlined by the UN General Assembly and recorded extensively to include the killing and injury of civilians, the forced displacement of civilians, and a systematic policy of obstruction of humanitarian assistance.

The Israeli occupying regime’s actions, as manifested in various laws and policies, have created a system of discrimination that has negatively affected the Palestinian population. In Palestine, the occupying regime’s expansionism has consolidated into apartheid through the longest occupation in modern history. It is well established that apartheid is a crime against the conscience and dignity of mankind, and is further in violation of fundamental principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter and crystalized in international human rights law, and seriously threatens international peace and security. 

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine has concluded that the political system of entrenched rule in occupied Palestine endows one racial-national-ethnic group with substantial rights, benefits, and privileges while intentionally subjecting another group to live behind Walls and checkpoints under a permanent military rule “sans droits, sans égalité, sans dignité et sans liberté” satisfies the prevailing evidentiary standard for the existence of apartheid. Many laws, policies, and practices adopted and implemented since 1948 by the Israeli occupying regime have been aimed at fragmenting the Palestinian people and dividing them into various groups; this clearly denies the Palestinian people their right to self-determination.

In tandem with the above, the construction and expansion of settlements, segregated roads, barriers, and checkpoints have created a system of apartheid, effectively isolating Palestinian communities, which manifestly violates multiple provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. 

The Court is, therefore, requested to opine that such policies and practices must be ceased immediately as they continue to violate the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people.

Violation of the right of the Palestinian people to permanent sovereignty over their natural resources

Mr. President, Members of the Court, 

The right to exercise permanent sovereignty over natural resources is an inevitable component of the right to self-determination. The two International Covenants of Human Rights and a number of UN General Assembly resolutions recognize this right. The UN General Assembly has expressed grave concern over a range of practices by the Israeli occupying regime negatively impacting Palestine’s natural resources. 

It has been affirmed the right of the Palestinian people to permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources is an integral component of the right to self-determination. It has been further confirmed that the right should be used in the interest of their national development, the well-being of the Palestinian people, and as part of their right to self-determination. 

Yet, Palestinians do not enjoy their own natural resources which include land, fresh water, and mineral resources. Imposing restrictions, by the Israeli regime, on access of Palestinians to water resources, groundwater, and hydrocarbon deposits are all instances of flagrant violation of the right to self-determination.

IV. Legal consequences that arise for all States and the United Nations from this status 

Mr. President, Members of the Court,

This Court has, in several cases, in particular in the Wall case, identified the obligation to respect the right to self-determination having an erga omnes character as “one of the essential principles of contemporary international law”.

As a general rule, where erga omnes obligations of international law are breached, third states have mainly three obligations: firstly, “non-assistance” secondly, “non-recognition”, and lastly “cooperation to bring to an end such a violation”. In this context, an “interested” or “third” state in accordance with the jurisprudence of the ICJ could be defined as one which is not directly affected or injured by an internationally wrongful act, and which has yet a legal interest in the protection and compliance of the rights by the very reason “of the importance of the rights involved…and their very nature” which makes them “the concern of all States”.

As regards the primary obligations of third States towards the prolonged occupation of Palestine, the three obligations mentioned above remain relevant in accordance with paragraph 146 of the 2004 ICJ Advisory Opinion in the Wall case. 

In addition to the jurisprudence of the ICJ, the primary triple obligations of third states towards serious breaches of erga omnes obligations finds support in the practice of other United Nations organs as well. In its resolution 2334 (2016), the UN Security Council unequivocally reiterated the importance of States abstaining from recognizing Occupying Power’s internationally wrongful acts.

The International Law Commission, in Draft Article 41(1) of its 2001 Draft Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, along with underlining the duty of States to not recognize as lawful a situation created by a serious breach of erga omnes rules, and not render aid or assistance in maintaining that situation, emphasized the duty of all States to cooperate through lawful means, in a joint and coordinated effort, to counteract the effects of these breaches.

Mr. President, Members of the Court, 

In light of the above-mentioned, the Court is requested to remind all States of their obligations under international law of the following:

First, not to aid or assist, directly or indirectly, the Israeli occupying regime enable it to continue its prolonged occupation of Palestine and/or any of its continued policies and practices that violate the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people; this may include in particular avoiding any kind of political, military, economic or other cooperation with the Israeli regime enabling it to continue such violations; 

Second, not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from prolonged occupation, by the Israeli occupying regime, of the Palestinian territory and/or any of its continued measures that violate the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people; and 

Third, to cooperate effectively with one another in all relevant fields and forums to bring to an end any impediment, resulting from the ongoing violation by the Israeli occupying regime of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including from its prolonged occupation, and any of its measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Al-Quds; obviously, such cooperation is of utmost urgency and importance given the ongoing situation in the Gaza Strip, where, according to one estimate, Israel’s military is killing Palestinians at an average rate of 250 people a day which exceeds the daily death toll of any other major conflict of recent years.

In this context, I recall this Honorable Court’s important Order of 26 January 2024, on the request by South Africa for the indication of provisional measures. The Order Concerns the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and as such, all States, in particular, those providing support to Israel are legally under the duty to prevent genocide, particularly, by ceasing to provide any aid to the genocide. They are also under a duty to punish perpetrators of the crime of genocide. Given the current extremely tragic conditions in the Gaza Strip, the Court is respectfully requested to once again call on the occupying regime to fully comply with the Order. Evidently, in practical terms, even the partial compliance of the Israeli regime with only subparagraph 1 of paragraph 86 of that Order is possible only through the complete termination of all its military operations in the Gaza Strip. 

Mr. President, Members of the Court,

I would like to recall the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security under Article 24(1) of the UN Charter. I submit that the inaction and/or insufficient action of the Security Council, if not the main, is one of the main causes of the prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territory. All the atrocities and crimes committed by the Israeli regime in the past almost 80 years are a consequence of such inaction. Even today, the Security Council is paralyzed due to the stalemate caused by a certain permanent member. Other relevant United Nations bodies have also the responsibility to monitor and document human rights violations, and to facilitate bringing the perpetrators to justice.    

This fact alone underscores how essential it is for the Court to remind the Security Council of its Charter-based obligations. It must also be made clear that such an obligation cannot be fulfilled by convening meetings or issuing certain impotent procedural resolutions; rather, it needs conclusive decisions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and a follow-up mechanism to ensure its full and prompt implementation by the Israeli regime. 

V. Conclusion

Mr. President, Members of the Court, 

As our Supreme Leader said: “The calamity of Gaza is the calamity of humanity and the international community as a whole”. Therefore, each and every State and relevant international organization has its own legal and moral responsibility to act urgently and decisively to prevent the ongoing crimes of the Israeli regime in the Gaza Strip. 

Definitely, as “the principal judicial organ of the United Nations”, this Court has an important role to play. Now, the world nations expect the Court to render its advisory opinion in a manner that effectively and practically consolidates the rule of law to the detriment of the rule of power, and to bring hope to Palestinians that justice will ultimately prevail. We should not leave them alone and let them down on days when they need the support and assistance of humanity the most. This is a collective legal and moral responsibility and we must fulfill it responsibly.

Finally, Mr. President, I must stress that our participation in this hearing and the content of our statement here is without prejudice to the longstanding position of the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding the question of Palestine. In view of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the only legal, practical, democratic and just method to effectively realize the inherent right to self-determination of the Palestinian people is to hold a national referendum in Palestine. The details of this plan are contained in an official document of the United Nations issued in 2019. 

Lastly, this statement shall, in no way, imply our recognition of Israel.

I thank you, Mr. President.
Reporter : Editorial of The Iran Project
https://theiranproject.com/vdcbzsbazrhb8wp.4eur.html
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