OUR THOUGHTS ARE WITH OUR COLLEAGUES, ALL THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL AND INNOCENT CIVILIANS IN GAZA AND OUR HEARTS GO OUT TO THOSE BEREAVED.
WE PRAY THAT THOSE INJURED WILL HEAL AND THOSE ABDUCTED WILL SOON BE REUNITED WITH THEIR FAMILIES.
Read the IJL's letter to the United Nations for"rapid and decisive action for the immediate release of hostages in the Gaza Strip" (12/10/2023)
THE MEANING OF PROPORTIONALITY IN THE INTERNATIONAL LAW OF ARMED CONFLICT
Israel’s right to defend itself under international law following the attack by Hamas on October 7 is beyond question.
In its military operations, Israel is of course obliged to act in compliance with the international law of armed conflict, which includes the principle of proportionality, but many take a mistaken view of the limits placed on Israel’s military action against Hamas by that principle.
Proportionality in this context does not mean, as many suppose, that defensive military action must be limited so as to cause no more than proportionate harm to the enemy. Thus, the number of casualties or the damage caused to civilians and non-military targets is not in itself an indication of disproportionality.
What the principle does require is that the military action, when targeting a particular military target, should not proceed if the information available indicates that the probable collateral damage to civilians and non-military objects would be excessive in relation to the military advantage expected from the military action.
This is therefore a more nuanced and fact-sensitive equation than is commonly understood.
Application of the correct definition of proportionality in international law is therefore of the utmost importance in assessing the legality, and indeed the morality, of current Israeli military action and any further action that is undertaken in the future.
For a fuller statement of the relevant legal principles, see the speech of Lord Verdirame KC, Professor of International Law at King’s College London and practising from 20 Essex Chambers, in the House of Lords debate on Israel/Gaza on 24 October 2023 (Hansard, HLDebs, Vol. 833).
RESOLUTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE UK ASSOCIATION OF
JEWISH LAWYERS & JURISTS
ON THE PROPOSED JUDICIAL REFORMS IN ISRAEL
6 September 2023
The UKAJLJ is a non-political body that is deeply committed to the State of Israel as it is to the Rule of Law. The Committee of the Association views with profound concern the package of judicial reforms being proposed.
While the Committee accepts that a legitimate and reasonable case can be made for certain reforms on such matters as the reasonableness standard in judicial review, the method for appointing Supreme Court judges and the roles of the Attorney-General and departmental legal advisors, divisions arising as a result of the current proposals risk causing a constitutional crisis.
The Committee urges the Government of Israel to pause its proposals and engage in appropriate discussions with a view to fashioning a package that would command widespread support.
A Background Note by the UKAJLJ Chairman relating to the Petition to the Supreme Court of Israel to Annul the Law Abolishing the Reasonableness Standard can be read here.
A message from the Chairman, Professor Graham Zellick CBE KC:
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