International Court of Justice – Advisory Opinion on Legal Consequences of Building Wall in Occupied Palestinian Territory




OF 9 JULY 2004

Legal Consequences cf the Construction of a Wu11 in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 2004, p. 136

Applicable law. United Nations Charter – General Assembly resolution 2625 (XXV) – Illegality of any territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force – Right of peoples to self-determination. International humanitarian law – Regulations annexed to the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907 – Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 – Applicability of Fourth
Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory – Human rights law — International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights – International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – Convention on the Rights of the Child – Relationship
between international humanitarian law and human rights law – Applicability of human rights instruments outside national
territory – Applicability of those instruments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Settlements established by Israel in breach of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – Construction of the wall and its associated régime create a ‘fait accompli’ on the ground that could well become permanent – Risk of situation tantamount to de facto annexation – Construction of the wall severely impedes the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination and is therefore a breach of Israel’s obligation to respect that right.

Applicable provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights instruments relevant to the present case — Destruction and requisition of properties – Restrictions on freedom of movement of inhabitants of’ the Occupied Palestinian Territory — Impediments to the exercise by those concerned of the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living – Demographic changes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory – Provisions of’ international humanitarian law enabling account to be taken of military exigencies – C1auses in human rights instrument.^ qualifying rights guaranteed or providing for d~7rogution – Construction of the wall and its associated régime cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order — Breach by Israel of various of its obligations under the
applicable provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights instruments.

Self-defence – Article 51 of the Charter – Attacks against Israel not imputable to a foreign State – Threat invoked to justify the construction of the wa11 originating within a territory over which Israel exercises control Article 51 not
relevant in the present case.
State of necessity Customary international law – Conditions – Construction of the wu11 not
the only reasons to safeguard Israel’s interests against the peril invoked.
Construction of the wall and its associated régime
are contrary to international law.

Legal consequences the violation by Israel of’ its oh1igation.s. Israel’s international responsibility – Israel obliged to comply with the international obligations it has breached by the construction of the wall — Israel obliged to put an end t,o the violation of its international obligations – Obligation to cease forthwith the works of’ construction of the wall, to dismantle it forthwith and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith the legislative and regulatory acts relating to its
construction, save where relevant for compliance by Israel with its obligation to make reparation for the damage caused – Israel obliged to make reparation fur the damage caused to al1 natural or 1egalpersons affected by construction of the wall.

Legal consequences for States other than Israel – Erga omnes character of certain obligations violated by Israel – Obligation for al1 States not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction – Obligations al1 States, while respecting the Charter and international law, to see to it that an,y impediment, resulting from the construction of the ivu11, to the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination is brought to an end – Obligation for al1 States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, while respecting the Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by
Israel with international humanitarian law us embodied in that Convention – Need for the United Nations, and especially the
General Assembly and the Security Council, to consider if further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting,from the construction of the wall and its associated régime, taking due account of the Advisory Opinion.

Construction of the wall must be placed in a more general context – Obligation of Israel and Palestine scrupulously to observe international humanitarian a – Implementation in good faith of all relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (l967) and 338 (1973) – “Roadmap” – Need ,for efforts to be encouraged with a view to achieving as soon as possible, on the basis of international law, a negotiated solution to the outstanding problems and
the establishment of a Palestinian State, with peace, and security, for al1 in the region.
Read the full opinion here (pdf) – in English and French, alternating pages.