Indonesian Foreign Minister Gathers Input From Experts Ahead of Statement at the International Court Regarding Palestine

By : Nata Kesuma | Wednesday, January 17 2024 - 21:10 IWST

Indonesia Reaffirm Its Support for Palestine on the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Indonesia Reaffirm Its Support for Palestine on the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Jakarta, Indonesia – In response to the request from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi will deliver an oral statement to support the advisory opinion (AO) of the International Court of Justice regarding Israel's occupation of Palestine on February 19, 2024 (16/01).

The Foreign Minister is gathering input from international law experts to prepare for this statement. This gathering is conducted through a discussion titled "Advisory Opinion at the International Court of Justice: Efforts to Support the Independence of Palestine through International Law Enforcement" at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Jakarta.

In her address, Foreign Minister Retno stated that the views and input of experts are needed to build a comprehensive legal opinion to demonstrate to the world the violations of international law committed by Israel.

"Indonesia supports the efforts of the UN General Assembly to obtain an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice. International law must be upheld. The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination must be respected. Israel's occupation of Palestine, which has lasted for more than 70 years, will not erase the right of the Palestinian people to independence," said the Foreign Minister.

As known, the UN General Assembly has requested legal advice (advisory opinion) from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the legal consequences of Israel's policies and actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. The General Assembly submitted this request to the ICJ on January 17, 2023.

In response to this request, Indonesia has decided from the beginning to actively participate in providing legal views to the ICJ. Indonesia's input consists of two elements: first, a written statement that was submitted to the ICJ in July 2023, and second, an oral statement which will be delivered by the Indonesian Foreign Minister on February 19, 2024, at the ICJ.

The Foreign Minister stated that various Israeli policies, such as the annexation of Palestinian territories, settlements in the West Bank, and changing the status of the city of Jerusalem, are not valid according to international law. Israel's invalid actions must be stopped, and there needs to be accountability for the violations of the law that have occurred. Countries must cease their support for Israel. The international community, including the UN, must not recognize the legality of Israel's actions.

"Indonesia's appearance before the International Court will complement various diplomatic steps taken by Indonesia to support Palestine," said the Foreign Minister.

In the three months since the conflict erupted, Indonesian diplomacy has been active in garnering support for Palestine. Foreign Minister Retno has spoken twice before the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. The Foreign Minister also spoke at other international forums such as ASEAN, WHO, the Human Rights Council, and the Global Refugee Forum. Indonesian diplomats have voiced and gathered support for Palestine in various forums and countries. At the same time, Indonesia has sent humanitarian aid to Palestine.

President Jokowi led the Indonesian delegation at the Joint OIC-Arab League Summit discussing the issue of Palestine last November. One of the decisions of the Summit was to mandate the Indonesian Foreign Minister, along with several other OIC Foreign Ministers, to garner international support to encourage a ceasefire and the peace process.

In carrying out this mandate, the Ministerial Committee conducted diplomacy and specifically met with high officials from the 5 Permanent Member States of the UN Security Council, both at the Head of Government and Foreign Minister levels.

Retno stated, "We see that the number of countries supporting the resolution on Palestine at the UN is increasing, while the number of countries opposing and abstaining is decreasing. Domestic pressure on key countries is also increasing. At the end of last year, the UN Security Council finally adopted a humanitarian resolution for Palestine."

However, all of this is not enough. For Indonesia, a ceasefire is needed and will be a game-changer to resolve the Gaza issue.

An Advisory Opinion (AO) is an ICJ mechanism to provide legal advice a UN body requests. On December 30, 2023, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/77/247 requesting legal advice from the ICJ regarding Israel's prolonged occupation in the Palestinian Territories. This AO process is different from the lawsuit that South Africa is currently filing against Israel in the ICJ based on the Genocide Convention.

Expert discussions covered the ICJ's authority to issue an AO, considering that the AO request was made following the procedures applicable to the ICJ.

In addition, international law experts discussed various Israeli policies and actions related to the prolonged occupation, illegal settlements, and annexation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, efforts to change the demographic composition, character, and legal status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and violations of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.

Around 50 legal and international law experts attended this discussion, including panellists such as Prof. Dr. Eddy Pratomo, Prof. Hikmahanto Juwana PhD, Prof. Dr. Sigid Riyanto, and Dr. Eni Narwati.

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