“After a sharp rise in Palestinian terror attacks in the spring of 2002”1 the Government of Israel called for the construction of a barrier in parts of the West Bank.
On October 21 2003, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution ES-10/13, that among others: “Demands that Israel stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem.”
On November 24 2003, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution ES-10/248, concluding that “Israel is not in compliance with the Assembly’s demand that it ‘stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.’”2
On December 3 2003, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution ES-10L.16, to [among others] “request the International Court of Justice ... to urgently render an advisory opinion” on the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel.
On July 9 2004, the International Court of Justice delivered its Advisory Opinion on the “legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian Territory.”
The International Court of Justice at the Hague (Netherlands) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and operates under a Statute which is an integral part of the Charter of the United Nations.
The Court has a twofold role: to settle legal disputes between states that have accepted its jurisdiction, and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized international organs and agencies.
TheCourt is made-up of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. The Bench rendering the Advisory Opinion in this case included: President Shi Jiuyong (China); Vice-President Raymond Ranjeva (Madagascar); Judges Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone); Vladlen S. Vereshchetin (Russian Federation); Rosalyn Higgins (United Kingdom); Gonzalo Parra-Aranguren (Venezuela); Pieter H. Kooijmans (Netherlands); Francisco Rezek (Brazil); Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan); Thomas Buergenthal (United States of America); Nabil Elaraby (Egypt); Hisashi Owada (Japan); Bruno Simma (Germany); Peter Tomka (Slovakia), and Gilbert Guillaume (France).
14 Judges voted in favor of the Advisory Opinion. Judge Thomas Buergenthal (United States of America) was the only dissenting vote.