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‘Biased’, ‘Selective’, ‘Antisemitic’: Accusations against the UN Commission of Inquiry on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Last week UN independent expert Miloon Kothari publicly questioned why Israel is a UN member and accused Jews of controlling social media, which is a long-recognised antisemitic trope. These are two separate but interlinked issues: firstly anti-Israel bias, and secondly antisemitism. In an interview with Mondoweiss Kothari stated: “I would go as far as to raise the question of why [Israel is] even a member of the United Nations. Because … the Israeli government does not respect its own obligations as a UN member state. They, in fact, consistently, either directly or through the United States, try to undermine UN mechanisms,” And then went on to say: “We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by, whether it is the Jewish lobby or it is specific NGOs, a lot of money is being thrown into trying to discredit us,” These remarks may seem inconsequential to many people, particularly those who do not follow what happens in the UN human rights…

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New Rules of Procedure of the Ad Hoc Conciliation Commission in Palestine v Israel

The inter-State procedure under Articles 11-13 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) lay dormant for over 50 years before its activation in March-April 2018 in three inter-State communications, Qatar v Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2018), Qatar v United Arab Emirates (2018) and Palestine v Israel (2018). These were the first three…

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Is There a Legal Duty to Cooperate in Implementing Western Sanctions on Russia?

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States, Europe and other allies imposed sanctions on Russia for violating the prohibition against the use of force, a peremptory norm owed to the international community as a whole. While the ability of these sanctions per se to put a swift end to Russia’s invasion has been doubted (see…

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“Friends of the court” making the most of Amicus Curiae with UN Treaty Bodies

The practice of submitting Third Party Interventions (TPIs) – also known as Amicus Curiae briefs - is well established in Commonwealth jurisdictions, and it has become common practice within regional mechanisms such as the Inter-American and European Courts of Human Rights, and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ rights. Similarly, most of the eight UN…

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Three Options for the Veto Power After the War in Ukraine

If any good can come out of the war in Ukraine, it should be a resumption of the decade-long process in the United Nations aiming at reining in or even removing the veto power of the permanent members of the Security Council. President Zelensky’s recent call for reforming the veto system may help to create the necessary…

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