ICJ Orders Israel to Halt Military Operations in Rafah; Indian Judge Dalveer Bhandari Among Supporters

Published on: May 28, 2024 21:23 IST

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Friday ordered Israel to immediately halt its military operations in Rafah. Among the judges who favored the ruling was Judge Dalveer Bhandari, the Indian representative at the ICJ.

Judge Bhandari, an esteemed jurist with a distinguished career, has been a member of the ICJ since 2012. Born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, in 1947, he has received numerous accolades, including the Padma Bhushan in 2014. Judge Bhandari has advocated numerous landmark cases at the Supreme Court of India and served as a senior judge of the Supreme Court from 2005. His expertise spans various areas including public interest litigation, constitutional law, criminal law, civil procedure, administrative law, arbitration, family law, labor and industrial law, and corporate law.

Since joining the ICJ, Judge Bhandari has been involved in significant cases related to maritime disputes, whaling in Antarctica, genocide, continental shelf delimitation, nuclear disarmament, terrorism financing, and sovereign rights violations. He also chaired the Delhi Centre of the International Law Association for several years and was the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court before his elevation to the Supreme Court of India. His notable ruling in a divorce case established that an irretrievable breakdown of marriage could be grounds for divorce, influencing potential amendments to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Judge Bhandari was honored as one of the 15 most esteemed alumni in the 150-year history of Northwestern University School of Law, where he earned his Master of Law in 1971.

The ICJ ruling, announced by Presiding Judge Nawaf Salam, came in response to an application from South Africa accusing Israel of actions amounting to genocide. The ruling mandates that Israel must cease any actions that could lead to the physical destruction of the Palestinian population in Rafah. The decision was supported by a 13-2 vote, with Judges Julia Sebutinde from Uganda and former Israeli High Court President Judge Aharon Barak dissenting. The ruling also emphasized the need for Israel to provide unhindered humanitarian aid and access to UN bodies investigating the allegations of genocide.

Despite the ICJ’s ruling, Israel has firmly rejected the order. Israel’s National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, alongside the foreign ministry, stated that Israel’s military operations in Rafah are in accordance with international law and that they have no intention of creating conditions that would lead to the destruction of the Palestinian population. Israel’s War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz echoed this sentiment, asserting that military operations would continue wherever deemed necessary.

Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, praised the ruling and urged for its immediate implementation. He emphasized that adherence to ICJ resolutions is mandatory, highlighting Israel’s obligation as a party to the Genocide Convention.

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