International Law

The Executive May Be Unitary, but the U.N. Sure Isn't

By Benjamin Wittes
Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 10:03 PM

Over at Opinio Juris, Julian Ku and Kevin Jon Heller have good commentary on the U.N. Human Rights Council's expert statement that takes issue with the earlier conclusion of the special panel appointed by the Secretary General concerning the legality of the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The special panel, readers will recall, concluded--among other things--that "Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law." The "group of United Nations independent experts" quoted on the web page of the Human Rights Council, by contrast, says that "As a result of more than four years of Israeli blockade, 1.6 million Palestinian women, men and children are deprived of their fundamental human rights and subjected to collective punishment, in flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.”

Hmmm. Legitimate security measure? Flagrant violation of the international law? It's good that that U.N. has such a firm grasp of its own views.