Fiji urges ICJ to refrain from providing advisory opinion

February 28, 2024 1:00 pm

Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Filipo Tarakinikini.

Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Filipo Tarakinikini, has made submissions to the International Court of Justice on several questions, including self-determination.

One of the oral questions Fiji is making submissions to is if Israel is violating the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

Tarakinikini states in his submission that Fiji knows that the right to self-determination is relative and should not involve changes to existing frontiers.

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He says that in the context of Israel-Palestine, this means that the court would need to ascertain whether Palestinians exercise of their right to self-determination has infringed on the territorial integrity, political inviolability, or legitimate security needs of the state of Israel by asking the court to look only at the policies and practices of Israel. He states that Resolution 77/247 shields from the courts the policies and practices of Palestine.

Tarakinikini states that the result of Fiji’s submission is that the court simply does not have sufficient information concerning the policies and practices of Palestine.

He says thus that the ICJ is unable to make a judicial determination on whether, in exercising their rights to self-determination, Palestine has infringed the sovereignty of the state of Israel.

He adds that the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian people is legally, factually, and historically complex, and there are no simple answers to it.

However, he submits that there are two parties who need to jointly find a solution, and they should be supported to do it.

He adds that using the advisory opinion procedure to prosecute the alleged violation of international law by one of the parties to the dispute while ignoring possible violations by the other will not promote dialogue nor foster mutual respect.

He says rather that it is likely to undermine efforts towards peace that can be best settled through the recommitment of the parties to the processes established under the Oslo Accords.

The Oslo Accords were a pivotal milestone in Israeli-Palestinian relations, aimed at propelling the peace process forward and providing for the expansion of Palestinian self-rule throughout most of the West Bank.

Tarakinikini says that Fiji respectfully submits that the court should exercise its judicial discretion to decline to provide an advisory opinion on the specific question put to it by the General Assembly.

He concluded by saying that should the court decide to provide an advisory opinion, which Fiji submits it should not, the court should be cautious to ensure the advisory opinion rendered does not circumvent the binding agreement between the parties but encourages them to promote fruitful negotiations.

Furthermore, he says the court should ensure that it does not impose obligations and responsibilities on only one party while disregarding its legitimate concerns.