Jurists say Israeli raids on South Lebanon violate international law

The ICJ said today that the on-going Israeli raids on the South of Lebanon contravene the principles of international law.

The ICJ said that the relevant international law standards are clear. Israel, as a member of the United Nalions, is bound by the provisions of the UN Charter. According to the Charter, the use of force in international relations is permitted only in self-defence. This right to sell defence is limited by the requirements of necessity and proportionality.

The Israeli action is disproportionate. The claim that Israel is defending itself against Hezb-Allah militia is undermined by the intensity and the extent of the military operation.

More worrisome is the indiscriminate targeting of the civilian population. Statements by the Israeli Prime Minister indicate that amongst the aims of the Israeli raids is to cause the exodus of civilians from the South to the North to force the Lebanese Government to deal more strictly with Hezb-Allah. Such goals, which have resulted in widespread terror, are blatant violations of international humanitarian law.

Civilian populations are accorded special protections under humanitarian law. Article 50 of 1907 Hague Regulations states: “no general penalty… shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as jointly and severally responsible.” Furthermore, wilful deportation and transfer, as well as extensive destruction of property, constitute grave breaches of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War.

The ICJ called upon the UN Security Council to assume its responsibility for maintaining international peace and security by compelling the respect of international law in the Middle East.

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