The International Court of Justice Is Not a Court

(Jerusalem Post) Gerald M. Steinberg - In contrast to the legal and court systems of democratic countries, international law lacks basic political legitimacy. Instead, these institutions and individuals are political actors who use soft-power warfare to accompany and amplify kinetic conflict (bombs and rockets) through the facade of a legal process. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) (like its newer counterpart - the International Criminal Court) is linked to the UN framework, and its 15 standing "judges" are selected by the Security Council and General Assembly. The countries that are judged (in this case, Israel) are not duly represented in the process. There are no checks and balances, and judges are often political appointees with no real-world knowledge of the nature of warfare, deterrence, terrorism, or other issues on which they render pseudo-legal decisions. While legitimate national legal systems are based on equality before the law, the members of what Prof. David Bernstein has coined "the cult of international law" have favorite causes. Some are motivated by dangerous messianism, which envisions criminalizing warfare through imaginary global frameworks. Treaties and conventions create the illusion of rules under the rubrics of the so-called Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL), but these are, at best, selectively enforceable. States that face legitimate threats are nevertheless said to be required to conform through a fiction known as "customary international law." It is important to expose the wider illusion of "international law." Institutions like the ICJ are built on the illusion of legality and justice. In practice, the results are often injustice and immorality. The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is professor emeritus of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and president of NGO Monitor.

2024-02-06 00:00:00

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