Our response to the ruling, and a letter to the Prime Minister

The court room of the International Court of Justice, with judges, plaintiffs, and lawyers present.
Credit: UN Photo/ICJ-CIJ/Frank van Beek. Courtesy of the ICJ. All rights reserved.
Published On: January 26, 2024

The United Church of Canada joins partners in Palestine and Israel, and the global community, in expressing appreciation for the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) today. The ruling indicated key provisional measures that Israel must undertake “to protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people under the Genocide Convention, which continue to be violated with impunity.”

The Court did not call specifically for a ceasefire. However, only through an immediate ceasefire can specific, urgent measures outlined by the court’s ruling be fully met, namely that:

“Israel must, in accordance with its obligations under the Genocide Convention, in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of this Convention, in particular Sections (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.

The Court recalls that these acts fall within the scope of Article II of the Convention when they are committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part a group as such. The Court further considers that Israel must ensure with immediate effect that its military forces do not commit any of the above-described acts.”

The United Church urges Canada, as a close ally and friend of Israel, to bring all its efforts to bear to persuade Israel to abide fully with the ICJ’s ruling.

Respect for, and compliance with, international law—judiciously applied through agreed-upon international legal mechanisms—is essential and required of all states. To date, international law has been applied selectively, including by Canada. This results in the most vulnerable, marginalized, powerless, and abused people globally suffering the greatest pain.

The United Church of Canada has written to Prime Minister Trudeau to support the ICJ ruling, urging Israel to comply with the Court’s provisional measures—without delay and without exception. The letter also urges the Government of Canada to advocate for an end to the human suffering in Gaza, and for the safe and immediate release of all remaining hostages.

Furthermore, should a resolution be brought to the UN Security Council for all member states to abide by the ICJ ruling of January 26th, the United Church urges Canada to put pressure on its allies in the United States, the UK, and France to vote in favour of, and comply with, such a resolution.

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