Justice Update – Palestine and Israel at the ICJ

In early January the United Nations General Assembly asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, after an appeal by Palestine. We caught up with Mike Becker, assistant Professor of Law at Trinity College Dublin, and asked him what this advisory opinion at the ICJ means in legal terms and what effects it might have. 

And we discussed with Eliav Lieblich, Professor of International Law at the Tel Aviv University, why this resolution now, and whether – whatever the court decides – it could change things on the ground. He also discusses how Israel bases its arguments around occupation on security concerns and applies, to some degree ‘jus in bello‘ (that’s the laws of war to us non-lawyers) but points out that – for example – it’s not exactly a temporary situation. 

Both Mike and Eliav comment on the legacy of the 20-year-old question to the ICJ, concerning the construction of a barrier between Israel and some of the Palestinian occupied territories. They also go into the details of the phrasing of the question, which as we have heard in the Philippe Sands’ episode on Chagos, can be tricky and affects exactly how the opinion can be applied.

And we look to the future, whether Israel will cooperate, how it may change the way international lawyers look at the Russian occupation in Ukraine, and enjoy Stephanie’s back-of-an-envelope research into what the timeline might be.

Do not miss the initial shoutout to our new Patreon platform plans – soon you will have the chance to support us and get access to our monthly War Criminals Book Club with best friend of the pod Molly Quell, give-aways, and two meetings per year. It’s really happening!


This podcast has been produced as part of a partnership with JusticeInfo.net, an independent website in French and English covering justice initiatives in countries dealing with serious violence. It is a media outlet of Fondation Hirondelle, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.