Israel lends expertise to international court for first time in half-century

For the first time in years, Israel was involved in the decision-making process in a case at the International Court of Justice that did not involve a legal issue related to the Jewish state.

By: World Israel News Staff

This week, Israel took part in a debate at the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ) for the first time in over 50 years that did not place the Jewish state at the center of the conflict.

Specifically, Israel participated in oral proceedings related to an Indian ocean archipelago, the rights to which are disputed by the United Kingdom and Mauritius. Sovereignty over the islands in question, known as the Chagos Archipelago, remains at the heart of the dispute.

Israeli officials from the foreign and justice ministries concurred with the UK’s position that the court lacks jurisdiction to rule on the matter, seeking to pursuade the tribunal to issue an advisory opinion to that effect. While the ICJ’s advisory opinions are not binding on the parties, their legal importance is generally recognized and respected by the international community.

Israel’s history with the ICJ has been contentious, with the body ruling in 2004 that the Jewish state’s anti-terror security barrier in Judea and Samaria is illegal.

The decision to become involved in the UK-Mauritius dispute was reportedly motivated by a desire to position Israel within the international legal community in a capacity that is not solely dictated by matters related to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, according to diplomatic sources in Jerusalem who spoke with Times of Israel.