CJPME appalled by Canada’s response to initial ICJ ruling on Gaza genocide

Montreal, January 26, 2024 - Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is angered and disheartened by Canada’s shamefully inadequate response to today’s initial ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In that ruling, the ICJ found that there was a plausible case that Israel’s actions in Gaza could amount to genocide, allowing the case to proceed. The ICJ also ordered Israel to comply with significant provisional measures designed to restrain Israel’s actions and protect Palestinians from ongoing genocidal acts.

While Canada’s position on South Africa’s application to the ICJ has been contradictory and confusing, the government had indicated in various statements that it would respect the decision of the court. If this pledge had been in good faith, it would apply to both the ICJ’s final determination on the merits of the case, as well as any interim provisional measures.

However, in a statement issued this afternoon, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly only noted that the ICJ “delivered its response,” without expressing support for the ICJ’s ruling nor calling on Israel to comply with its legally binding provisions to prevent genocide against Palestinians. This puts Canada out of step with most Western governments including the European Union, Norway, New Zealand, Slovenia, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, and even Germany, which have all called on parties to comply with the ruling. Instead of doing so, Joly’s statement points out that a final decision on the merits had not yet been reached – a fact which does not in any way take away from the legally binding nature of today’s initial ruling.

Canada’s failure to express support for the interim ruling of the ICJ is astonishing. Canada has abandoned its obligations under the Genocide Convention to prevent and punish genocide wherever it occurs. It is embarrassing that Canada’s response to the ICJ’s finding focuses most prominently on the actions of Hamas, when it is Israel’s plausibly genocidal actions that are under the scrutiny of the world’s top court.

CJPME reiterates its call for Canada to publicly support the ICJ’s ruling and put pressure on Israel to fully comply with the ICJ’s orders. Canada should also take concrete steps to end all forms of complicity in potentially genocidal acts, starting with an arms embargo on all military trade with Israel.

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME, 613-315-7947

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org

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