All Israel

Israel appoints former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak to ICJ genocide tribunal

Barak is an internationally known jurist with a controversial legal tradition

Former Chief Justice of Supreme Court Aharon Barak attends the conference of the Israeli newspaper "Makor Rishon" at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, Dec. 8, 2019. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel has appointed former Israel Chief Justice to the Supreme Court Aharon Barak to serve on the legal team that will represent Israel in the International Court of Justice tribunal at The Hague, where it will face charges of “genocidal intent” regarding its war strategy to eliminate the Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Barak’s appointment by Israel is based on the right of countries who are parties to a case to appoint a judge of their own to join the panel of 15 justices. The appointment of Barak was made by Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara and approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Barak gained international attention for his role in championing supreme court activism in Israel. That activism and school of legal interpretation led him to becoming a polarized figure in the judicial reform debate surrounding Netanyahu’s coalition government over the past year. Many of Netanyahu’s coalition partners have strongly criticized Barak’s judicial activism. 

Even the U.S. judge Richard Posner, a former justice in the U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit, called Barak “a legal buccaneer” over his activism. 

During his time on the bench, and especially as head of Israel's Supreme Court, Barak was known as a controversial jurist, unafraid to intervene in government matters, including matters of Israel’s security. 

“Security considerations will be taken into account," Barak once said, "and given due weight, but they will always be balanced by the need to ensure that human rights are not violated beyond the extent necessary.” 

Another time, he wrote: “State security is not an unlimited permit to violate individual rights, just as human rights cannot justify harming security. No balance will be achieved if security or human rights are not fully protected.” 

In addition to his international standing as a jurist, Barak’s personal history as a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to British Mandatory Palestine in 1947, have caused many in Israel to see him as the ideal representative at the International Court of Justice. 

Former Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar took to social media to praise the decision to appoint Barak while also calling attention to the harsh treatment Barak has received over the past year. 

“At the moment of truth: the incitement, defamation and delegitimization gave way to the international status, to the good name acquired over decades, to professionalism. I congratulate the Prime Minister and the Legal Adviser to the Government on the correct and accurate decision,” Sa’ar posted to X. 

War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz of the National Unity party also praised the decision, calling Barak “an Israeli patriot who will always stand with the country that he loves so much.” 

Even some coalition members spoke favorably of the decision. 

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party said the appointment of Arbel is “another lesson to us all that in the moment of truth, what unifies is greater than what divides and all of us together will stand up and say, 'here we are,' when called to the flag for the sake of our country.” 

The International Court of Justice will begin the hearings on Jan 11-12 based on South Africa’s filing to investigate Israel over its military campaign in Gaza. 

Last week, American lawyer Alan Dershowitz said he was willing to represent Israel at The Hague. His involvement in the case has not been confirmed, as the entire legal team has not been announced.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories