U.S. Argues World Court Has No Right to Judge Israel

(Washington Times) David R. Sands - The Bush administration said Friday the top UN court does not have the jurisdiction to put Israel in the dock over the construction of a security fence designed to contain Palestinian terrorists. The U.S. joined Israel, Britain, Australia, France, and more than two dozen countries in urging the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to stay out of the dispute over the fence, arguing it could hurt a political settlement and set a dangerous precedent for future disputes between states. The World Court "is not the appropriate forum to discuss Israel's security barrier," the administration said in its submission. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher warned that The Hague case could undercut diplomatic efforts under the U.S.-backed road map. For the court to issue an opinion on the case, he said, would violate the principle that the ICJ would only claim jurisdiction in disputes where the parties mutually agreed in advance to abide by the decision. Boucher said the U.S. has its own concerns about the Israeli fence, but said the question should be hammered out in direct negotiations, not through the UN legal body.

2004-02-02 00:00:00

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