The shadow cast over international law

In the modern world, it is anticipated that political actions (by those in power) will be checked not only by opposing political forces but perhaps even more so by the law. This is what we mean by the rule of law or a legal state. On a national level, significant progress has been made in this regard; the principle of legal oversight as a measure of political legitimacy has become well-established. So much so that a state's reputation on the international stage is often weighed on this scale.

However, it is important not to overlook the deviations that can occur during the implementation of lawful politics. One immediate example that comes to mind is the concept of juristocracy, where the judiciary oversteps its bounds and encroaches on political decision-making, representing one of the most imbalanced forms of separation of powers.

When we seek to find the equivalent of these legal successes, achieved to varying extents within nation-states, in the realm of international or global relations, we often end up disappointed. This is one of the modern world's most significant dilemmas and contradictions. We must acknowledge that considerable efforts were made in this direction following World War II. Despite this, the New World Order established post-WWII did not impose any restrictive measures on the internal armament of the two ideological camps. Instead, it externalized the risk of war to areas outside what was considered the "civilized" sphere. The production and consumption of war efforts were shifted as much as possible to semi-central and peripheral regions. Africa, Asia, and Latin America were designated as new battlegrounds, while North America, Europe, and Soviet territories were insulated from the likelihood of war.

Another development was the stabilization of existing nation-state boundaries. The post-WWII maps were taken as a reference, and during the decolonization processes that unfolded within this newly established world system, the borders of newly emerged states, recognized by the United Nations, were also fixed. Rules were established to govern cross-border operations. Although these rules were sometimes disregarded, de facto situations often ran up against the principle of the inviolability of borders, meaning they were not legally recognized.

Additionally, strict rules were established to govern the justification for war (jus ad bellum) and to minimize human losses during conflict (jus in bello). War crimes were meticulously defined.

Ultimately, as a core issue, various organizations, most notably the UN, were established to prevent wars or to end them before they could escalate. International courts were also created to prosecute those responsible for actions contrary to the accepted rules. These were significant steps not to be underestimated. However, the most crucial aspect involves enforcement. In practice, many incidents have shown that interests, ideological priorities, and de facto situations have hindered the consistent application of these rules. For these rules to be effectively implemented, strong consensus is essential, which is often unattainable. Ultimately, power dynamics remain the determining factor in global politics. The idea that more "freedom" emerged after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union is an illusion. Although this claim is partially true for some places, it is clear that a unilateral power intoxication has led to more arbitrary actions in international relations. Wars like those in Korea and Vietnam, among others, were resolved within the balance of power. However, the end of the Cold War left no such balance. This imbalance emboldened the West, led by the US, to act more aggressively. It also undermined international organizations, despite their problematic functioning. Yes, international law still exists in theory, but its practical implementation depends on the interests and arbitrary choices of power dynamics. This is evident in the Gaza issue.

It is clear that the atmosphere enabling Israel's Gaza offensive, which has reached the level of genocide, stems from this situation. Since October 7, the West has been competing to support Israel, citing international law. Israel was attacked, and therefore had the right to defend itself. This reference also justifies the West's silence in the face of the worsening situation in Gaza. However, the escalation towards genocide has shocked the West. Now, they don't want to be complicit in Israel's madness and seek to extricate themselves from the quagmire into which Netanyahu and his even more extreme allies have dragged them. The first step is to get rid of Netanyahu. The cases opened in the ICC and ICJ are intended to be used as deterrents and later as punitive measures in this operation. Europe has started to take a leading role in this campaign. This movement is also empowering judges who have faced various pressures and threats. There is now the possibility of arrest warrants being issued for Netanyahu and Gallant as war criminals. But let's be clear: there is a shadow over this process. Haniyeh, Sinwar, and Masri are also included in the arrest warrants. Now we must ask: during the Nuremberg Trials, was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 also put on trial? Of course not. It seems that this supposed show of impartiality is intended to placate Israel and its supporters. However, it also casts a shadow over justice.

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