Lebanese Judge Nawaf Salam, Critic of Israel, Chosen as President of ICJ

Lebanese Judge Nawaf Salam has recently secured the position of the new President of the International Court of Justice, according to a press release issued by The Hague on Tuesday. His appointment, endorsed by his colleagues, entails a tenure lasting for three years.

Judge Salam has been actively involved with the court since February 2018. Prior to this, he served as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations from 2007 to 2017, showcasing a substantial background in international relations.

Of significance is Salam’s history of expressing viewpoints critical of Israel. Now, in his capacity as the President of the International Court of Justice, he will oversee a case brought forth by South Africa against Israel. The case alleges that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are involved in actions amounting to genocide in Gaza. This development adds a layer of complexity and scrutiny to his new leadership role within the international legal arena.

New Judge Has Given Anti-Israel Statements

In the year 2015, the current president conveyed a critical sentiment, stating, “Unhappy birthday to you, commemorating 48 years of occupation.” This statement, likely referring to a specific geopolitical situation, reflects the president’s stance on a longstanding issue.

Following this, a few months later, the Jewish News Syndicate reported additional comments made by the president. In these remarks, he urged Israel to halt violence and bring an end to the ongoing occupation. Furthermore, he emphasized a perspective on the discourse surrounding Israel, asserting that portraying critics of Israel’s policies as antisemites is a deliberate strategy intended to intimidate and discredit them. The president made it clear that such attempts at silencing opposition are firmly rejected. This reveals a nuanced and critical perspective on both the political situation and the broader narrative surrounding Israel’s policies.

Salam has actively supported the idea of granting Palestinian membership in the United Nations, a move that would signify international acknowledgment and recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

About International Court of Justice!

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) operates as the judicial branch of the United Nations, its establishment mandated by the United Nations Charter in June 1945. Comprising a bench of 15 judges, the court is tasked with two fundamental roles.

Firstly, the ICJ is designated to settle legal disputes between states in accordance with established principles of international law. This involves cases submitted to the court by the concerned states seeking a resolution to their disagreements through a legal framework. Secondly, the ICJ functions to provide advisory opinions on legal questions. These questions are typically referred to the court by authorized entities within the United Nations, including organs and agencies within the UN system. The advisory opinions serve as legal guidance on complex matters, contributing to the interpretation and application of international law. In essence, the ICJ plays a pivotal role in promoting the peaceful resolution of disputes and providing legal insights within the framework of the United Nations.

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