The Slovenia Times

Slovenia stresses Palestinians' right to self-determination in ICJ hearing

The International Court of Justice. Photo: Petra Miklavc/STA

Slovenia stressed the right of Palestinians to self-determination as it presented its position at the International Court of Justice on 23 February as part of proceedings in which the UN General Assembly is seeking the court's advisory opinion on the legality of Israel's actions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Slovenia also highlighted Israel's obligations to respect international law as an occupying force, and called for a two-state solution.

While their right to self-determination cannot be denied, the Palestinian people have been unable to exercise that right and Israel has actively prevented its implementation, argued a German international law expert who represented Slovenia in the proceedings.

"The occupation, colonisation and fragmentation of the Palestinian territory not only constitute a clear violation of the prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force, but also constitute a significant obstacle to the realisation of a free and independent Palestinian state," said Daniel Müller.

The Slovenian nation was able to exercise its right to self-determination and Slovenia is convinced this right is an essential pillar of the international legal order.

He stressed that Israel should not engage in any permanent change in the status of the occupied territory and that militarily occupation can only be temporary.

Müller said that Israel as the occupying force does not "respect the basic obligations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law". He said the court already confirmed this in 2004 in relation to the construction of the wall.

"However, the colonisation of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and the establishment of settlements with the aim of introducing lasting demographic changes, as well as the displacement of Palestinians and the destruction of their homes and property, have only accelerated," he added.

Slovenia also highlighted the international community's obligations under the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions.

States are obligated not to recognise the situation created by Israeli's breaches in the occupied territories and must abstain from rendering any aid or support to Israel in maintaining this situation.

Slovenia finds it worrying that talks on the two-state solution are deadlocked despite the UN's many efforts to the contrary and numerous resolutions.

"Slovenia reaffirms its unwavering support for a negotiated two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders resulting in two sovereign, democratic states living together in peace and security, in full respect of international law," said Slovenia's co-agent, Helmut Hartman, legal adviser at Slovenian embassy in The Hague.

Müller also said that Slovenia firmly believes that strict adherence to international law can put an end to the unacceptable and unbearable situation in the Middle East and contribute to efforts for a just and lasting peace in the region.

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