The attacks of Hamas against Israel were deeply shocking. Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas and at the same time it is obliged to protect the civilian population of Gaza as far as possible from harm and injury. But Israel is currently facing a true dilemma. While Israeli Defense Forces try to evacuate as many residents as possible, Hamas uses civilians as human shields, including hostages. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire and mass evacuations further exacerbate the problem.
On the 8th of June 2023, Canada and the Netherlands initiated proceedings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Syria for violating the Convention against Torture (CAT) by inter alia using chemical weapons against the civilian population. This would be the first time ever that the ICJ had the opportunity to deal with chemical weapons in contentious proceedings. This blog post will briefly summarize the most pertinent legal questions and political implications that arise in the context of the ICJ proceedings. It will be demonstrated that the prohibition of chemical weapons is not based on a single legal framework. Rather, we need to look at the chemical weapons taboo comprehensively and from a perspective of multi-normativity.