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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · Geneva


GA/PAL/977
4 March 2005


UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON QUESTION OF PALESTINE
 
TO BE HELD AT PALAIS DES NATIONS, GENEVA 8 - 9 MARCH
 
(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 4 March (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene a United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine on 8 and 9 March 2005 at the United Nations Office at Geneva. 

The theme of the Meeting is “Implementing the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the OccupiedPalestinianTerritory -- The role of governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society”.

The Meeting will focus on the significance of the Advisory Opinion, the responsibility of governments and intergovernmental organizations, as well as the role of parliaments and civil society in advocating adherence to international law.  Experts will provide a legal analysis of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling and discuss the response by the parties and the international community.

The holding of this event is mandated by General Assembly resolutions 59/28 and 59/29 of 1 December 2004.  Invited to the Meeting will be eminent personalities, internationally renowned experts, including Israelis and Palestinians, representatives of United Nations Members and observers, parliamentarians, representatives of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations, the academic community, representatives of civil society organizations, as well as the media.

The opening session will start on Tuesday, 8 March 2005, at 10 a.m. in Conference Room XVI of Building A of the Palais des Nations.  Statements are expected to be made by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva and Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General; Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee; and Nasser Al-Kidwa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority (to be confirmed).  This will be followed by a segment in which representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations bodies and agencies will be invited to make statements.  The opening session will be followed by plenary sessions during which experts will make presentations on specific issues.  Each plenary will have a discussion period.  The official languages of the Meeting will be English and French.  Documentation will be available, to the extent possible, in these two languages.

Plenary session I, “The significance of the Advisory Opinion”, will begin in the afternoon of Tuesday, 8 March, at 3 p.m.  The session will provide a legal analysis of the Advisory Opinion by the International Court of Justice and analyse the response by the parties and the reaction of the international community.  Speakers include Vaughan Lowe, Professor of Public International Law at All Souls College, Oxford; Michael Bothe, Professor of Law and President of the German Association for International Law, Frankfurt; Avner Pinchuk, Lawyer with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel; Anis Kassim, Legal Advisor of the Palestinian Defence Team to the ICJ, Amman; Pierre d’Argent, Professor of International Law, Université catholique de Louvain; and Mahmoud Hmoud, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Jordan to the United Nations in New York.

Plenary session II, “The responsibility of Governments and intergovernmental organizations in upholding international law”, will start at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 9 March.  During the session, experts and participants will discuss the primacy of international law, options for individual and collective actions by governments and the role of the United Nations.  Speakers include Georges Abi-Saab, Honorary Professor of International Law, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva; Pieter H.F. Bekker, former ICJ staff lawyer, Senior Counsel to Palestine in the ICJ advisory proceeding, New York; Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, Professor of Public Law, University of Paris VII; Michael Lynk, Professor of Law, University of Western Ontario; and Marcelo Kohen, Professor of Law, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva.

On Wednesday, 9 March, at 3 p.m., Plenary session III, entitled “The role of parliaments and civil society in advocating adherence to international law”, will look at the impact parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations could have on the respect of international law, as well as the response of civil society and the media to the Advisory Opinion.  Speakers include Daniel Vischer, Member of the National Council of Switzerland; Julia Wickham, Coordinator of the Labour Middle East Council, London; Jeff Handmaker, Researcher at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights; Rev. Bruce Gillette, Moderator of the Committee on Peacemaking for the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Wilmington, Delaware; Mark Lance, Member of the Steering Committee, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation; Anne Massagee, Legal Researcher, Al-Haq - Law in the Service of Man; and Alioune Tine, Secretary-General of Rencontre africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme (RADDHO), Dakar.

The closing session of the Meeting will take place on Wednesday, 9 March, at 5:30 p.m.   The report of the Meeting will be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat.

Participants are requested to register with the Secretariat either at its Office or prior to entering the conference room.  The main Secretariat is located in Office A.541 on the 5th floor of Building A.  The telephone numbers of the Secretariat at the Palais des Nations are (41-22) 917-6884, 917-6639, 917-6584, 917-6802, the fax number is 917-0742.

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