The Pathology of a Legal System: Israel's Military Justice System and International Law
Questions of International Law, Zoom In, Vol 44 (2017) pp 5-20
16 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2018
Date Written: August 1, 2017
Despite the burgeoning literature on the consequences in international law of Israeli practices and policies in the territories it occupies, there has been only limited legal consideration of the intentions that drive Israel’s practices and the structures and processes that underpin them. This essay assesses Israel’s administration of justice in the occupied Palestinian territory in light of Hart’s category of the pathology of legal systems, which offers a normative perspective on the ends and means of a state’s relationship to international law. The essay examines the posture of Israel’s legal system towards international law to provide a distinct normative perspective on the thick background rules of Israel’s internationally unlawful acts. It analyses the presumptions underlying the operation of its administration of justice in the occupied territory, and explores how the systemic denial of Palestinians rights is based on the rejection of Palestinian sovereignty over the territory Israel occupies. The essay’s review of Israeli practices as manifestations of a legal pathology concludes with reflections on the utility of this analytical category, particularly for the determination of the nature of state responsibility in international law.
Keywords: Hart, international and national law, military justice, belligerent occupation, structural violations, willing and able
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