Canada must support ICJ order to protect Palestinians in Gaza from genocidal acts

Montreal, January 26, 2024 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) welcomes the historic ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering Israel to prevent genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza. In its preliminary ruling on South Africa’s application, the ICJ found that Israel’s actions in Gaza could plausibly fall within the Genocide Convention, and ordered Israel to comply with provisional measures that would restrain its genocidal actions. CJPME urges the Canadian government to publicly support the decision of the ICJ and demand that Israel comply with its orders. CJPME believes that, given the nature of Israel’s actions, the ICJ’s emergency measures cannot be reasonably met without a full ceasefire and an end to the bloodshed.

“This ruling is a significant victory for the Palestinian people and a breakthrough moment for all those seeking justice. While stopping short of ordering a ceasefire, the World Court has found that many of Israel’s actions could plausibly constitute acts of genocide, and has ordered significant restraints on Israel’s genocidal campaign against the people of Gaza,” wrote Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “Canada must do everything in its power to compel enforcement of the ICJ’s orders and protect Palestinians from genocide, starting with the imposition of an arms embargo on Israel,” added Bueckert.

The ICJ only issued emergency measures and did not make a final decision on the allegations of genocide, which could take years. Nevertheless, the Court determined that the case for genocide was plausible, and is allowing the broader case to proceed. Today’s emergency measures – which are legally binding – demand that Israel: take all measures to prevent the commission of acts of genocide (including the killing of members of the group and imposing conditions of life designed to destroy the group); ensure that its military forces do not commit genocidal acts; prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide; and enable the provision of humanitarian aid, among other measures. Each measure was approved by a huge majority of ICJ judges, never less than 15-2.

CJPME insists that Canada must now take a stand in support of the court’s ruling, following weeks of confusing and contradictory statements. Support for the ruling can and should take the form of 1) strong public condemnation of Israel’s brutal violence against the Palestinians in Gaza; 2) pressure on Israel to fully comply with the ICJ’s emergency provisions; 3) a halt to all arms trade between Canada and Israel and a formal review of Canada’s security cooperation with Israel, and 4) a strict reassessment of Canada’s diplomatic stance vis-à-vis Israel to ensure that Canada is not complicit in, or enabling, genocide.

Earlier this month, Trudeau said that Canada’s "wholehearted support of the ICJ and its processes does not mean that we support the premise of the case brought forward by South Africa,” which was widely interpreted as an outright dismissal of the case. As reported by the CBC, however, Global Affairs Canada claims that they intended to express neutrality regarding the merits of the case and that they will abide by all rulings of the ICJ. However, when later asked, neither Trudeau nor Joly would go beyond their initial, confusing statements. CJPME urges Canada to take an unambiguous position in support of the ICJ’s ruling and insist that Israel end its genocidal actions.

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

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