Legal Consequences for Disregard of the World Court’s Decision and the Continuing Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory


Abstract: A decade after the delivery of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Request for advisory opinion) popular opinion appears to be that the advisory opinion has not produced any appreciable and positive outcome for and in the interest of the Palestinian people. This article discusses the issues surrounding the legal validity, authoritativeness and bindingness of advisory opinions and notes that although advisory opinions are not judgments but “merely opinions and merely advisory” they do carry a recognisable authority and are generally persuasive and followed by UN member States and even States that are not yet members as exemplified by Israel in relation to the Conditions of Admission of a State to Membership in The United Nations [1948]. 1 The article considers the impact the wall has had over the last 11 years evaluates attempts to give effectiveness to the advisory opinion and makes suggestions as to the future. The article thus, lays the ground for the conclusion that the opinion in the case under discussion ought to be followed by Israel; that Israel bears international responsibility and liability for its action in defiance of the position of international law and particularly for large scale abuse of the rights of individuals and communities in Palestine as a result of the wall policy; and that all UN bodies particularly the Security Council should seek all ways to bring about the implementation of the Courts decision in this case. The reception of the opinion by various key stakeholders are evaluated and the major steps taken by the General Assembly to encourage compliance and to impose liability on the State of Israel are discussed along with suggestions on how to ensure that the legal opinion in this case is finally used as a basis to bring down the much criticised and illegal, approximately 700 km structure, which is a clog in the wheel of the general resolution of the problems surrounding the occupation of Palestinian territories and the law and politics of the Israeli-Palestinian issue in international relations.

Key-words: Palestinian territory, occupation, United Nations, advisory opinion

* Gbenga Oduntan has a PhD (Law, (Kent)), MA, LLB (hons) BL (hons) BA (hons) (ACIArb); Senior Lecturer in International Commercial Law, Kent Law School, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK; Email:; web address: The opinions expressed in this article are solely the author’s and do not engage the institution he belongs to.

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