Namibia Asserts ICJ AuthorityOver Israel-Palestine War

Minister of justice

Namibia has firmly stated that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has the mandate to address the Israel-Palestine conflict, regarding the legal implications of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

This comes after Namibia, represented by justice minister Yvonne Dausab and Kenyan professor Phobe Okowa, argued Namibia’s position at the ICJ on Friday.

The argument was about the legal implications of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian areas.

About 50 other countries made their submissions last week at the Hague.

Speaking to Desert Radio yesterday, executive director in the ministry of Justice Gladice Pickering expressed Namibia’s belief in the ICJ’s jurisdiction regarding Israel’s occupation in Palestinian areas. Pickering said she anticipates a positive response from the court, emphasising the significance of Namibia’s engagement on the matter. She did, however, clarify the non-binding nature of advisory opinions of the ICJ, suggesting that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should pass a binding resolution on states not adhering to the ICJ’s opinions. “Advisory opinions of the court (ICJ) are not binding. That advisory opinion will be provided to the (UN) General Assembly. What should happen is that the UNSC should pass a binding resolution on any state that does not adhere to the opinions,” she said. Pickering highlighted that the only other option in the conflict would be for the two parties to come to an agreement.

“The only option now is for the people of Palestine to be given their right to self-determination, however, the two-state solution is something that Namibia has always been advocating,” the executive director said.

Pickering informed Desert Radio that Namibia also called for economic pressure on Israel by urging states not to trade with Israel or in goods from Israel.


Namibia enlisted the services of Kenyan lawyer Phoebe Okowa to present its arguments at the ICJ. Okowa, on Friday, underscored the importance of considering the historical context surrounding the proceedings.

“In the Wall opinion, you (ICJ) observed when Israel proclaimed its independence, it did so on the strength of the partition plan resolution. As is well known, that plan envisaged two states. One Arab and one Jewish,” she said. In her oral argument, Okowa made reference to the ICJ’s declaration of apartheid as a denial of human rights in 1971 and violation of the United Nations’ charter.

She also urged the court to make it clear that the prohibition of apartheid extends to Israel’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“They (Israel’s laws) grossly violate its obligations under international law.” she said.

Human rights lawyer, Norman Tjombe, referred to a United Nations Security Council Resolution of 1967, saying that Namibia seeks the court’s intervention to implement the resolution, advocating the recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

“The UNSC 1967 passed a resolution demanding that Israel must vacate some of those territories and that resolution has up to date not been implemented […] All Namibia is asking is for the court to implement that resolution,” he said, speaking to Desert Radio yesterday.

Asked on whether Israel’s argument on Hamas as a terrorist group will hold any water at the ICJ, Tjombe said that for now, Namibia is only concerned with the recognised status of Palestine as an independent country.

“We are speaking on behalf of all Palestinians, regardless of the political formations they might have. What Namibia wants from the ICJ is that they be recognised as an independent state and the Palestinians must decide for themselves who they want to vote in power,” he added.

Tjombe also commented on the debate regarding Namibia appointing a foreign legal counsel.

“I don’t have an issue that we have the Kenyan lawyer. The outlook of Namibia from day one has been pan-Africanism.

We are not a xenophobic country, we take any type of support we get. “If you look at her credentials, they are impeccable.
She is certainly qualified to do that, but having said that, there is still room for building our capabilities in Namibia,” he said.

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