Is International Law Falling Apart?

Conflict in Gaza is testing the strength of the two intergovernmental courts in The Hague. Neither Israel nor the United States recognizes the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Chas Newkey-Burden at The Week: The ICC – not to be confused with the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which hears cases brought against nation states – is the “world’s only supranational tribunal that can try individuals for war crimes and other atrocities”, said Kluth.

Both Israel and the US do not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction, and it “doesn’t have its own police force or army – a recurring problem with enforcing international law in general”. An accused individual would only be locked up if they travel to a signatory country and that government “puts on the handcuffs”.

The ICJ is “also causing headaches for the US and Israel” as it deliberates claims brought by South Africa that state-led genocide has been committed against Palestinians in Gaza. This week, Turkey joined Colombia in formally requesting to join the case against Israel, which has been described by the US as “completely without any basis in fact”.

So far, the ICJ has said that Israel’s actions could amount to genocide and ordered it to take measures to prevent it, rather than declaring that the assault “was genocide full stop”, said New York magazine. The court is expected to rule again in the coming years, though. If the US then dismissed more solid findings or failed to rein in its ally, the consequences would be “catastrophic not only for the Palestinians but for the whole ‘rules-based international order’ that the US built in the aftermath of World War II”…

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