The unholy convergence of international law, genocide and geopolitics

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Foundationally, international law aims to govern relations between nations and is encapsulated in binding and non-binding bilateral, trilateral and multilateral agreements, pacts and treaties; it extends to UNSC resolutions on maintenance of global peace and security.

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speak during an event about the Middle East peace talks in the East Room at the White House in Washington September 1, 2010. REUTERS/Jim Young /File Photo

Here’s the rider; international law does not exist in vacuo. On one hand, it provides a legitimate basis for global collaboration on wide-ranging issues including arbitration, arms reduction, artificial intelligence, ESG, finance, humanitarian affairs, poverty alleviation, public health, SDGs, technology, trade etc.

Situating these legal points within the context of the Israeli/ Palestinian Hamas ongoing war and is therefore highly relevant. Hostilities began on October 7, 2023 pursuant to the Palestinian Hamas attack on Israel, which killed approximately 1,200 people and resulted in the hostage taking of more than 250 Israeli nationals, of which approximately 112 were released following Middle-East led mediation efforts.

Worse, Palestinians and rights groups argue that the United States, notwithstanding the fact that it is Israel’s chief ally and weapons supplier, negates its heavy moral obligation to act as a demonstrably fair umpire in the crisis. They point to the fact that the United States vetoed important UNSC resolutions calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire on December 8, 2023 and February 20, 2024, despite preponderant world opinion within and outside the States, for it.

Compounding the dynamic, and the global sense of injustice against innocent and defenceless Palestinians, was South Africa’s application against Israel alleging gross violations by Israel of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide relative to the Gaza strip, on December 29, 2023.

According to the BBC on April 2, 2024, Israeli air strikes killed seven persons working for the charity, World Central Kitchen in Gaza comprising Australian, Canadian, Palestinian, and U.S. citizens. The immediate and concurrent release of all hostages held by Palestinian/Hamas, and Palestinian prisoners of war held by Israel. Without this seminal quid pro quo, the war will be exacerbated;

Ojumu is the Principal Partner at Balliol Myers LP, a firm of legal practitioners and strategy consultants in Lagos, Nigeria, and the author of The Dynamic Intersections of Economics, Foreign Relations, Jurisprudence and National Development.Before flagging, please keep in mind that Disqus does not moderate communities. Your username will be shown to the moderator, so you should only flag this comment for one of the reasons listed above.


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