ICJ urges “Israel” to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the UN, holds public hearings on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case South Africa v. Israel on 11 and 12 January 2024, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. Session held under the presidency of Judge Joan E. Donoghue, President of the Court. The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs and agencies.

The International Court of Justice has ruled that “Israel”, the occupying power, must take measures to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Court President Joan Donoghue said the court was extremely worried by the loss of life in the Gaza Strip as a result of the ongoing Israeli military offensive.

A significant majority of the 17-judge panel voted in favor of urgent actions, meeting most of South Africa’s requests, with the exception of issuing an order to halt the war on Gaza.

The judge said that, in the court’s view, at least some of Israel’s actions in Gaza brought forward by South Africa fell within the provisions of the UN’s Genocide Convention, adding that the court could not “accede to Israel’s request that the case be removed from the general list.”

The court said Israel must ensure its forces do not commit genocide and take measures to improve the humanitarian situation, demanding Israel to report to the court within a month on what it is doing to uphold the order.

Furthermore, the court ordered “Israel” to refrain from inciting genocide in Gaza and to punish anyone engaging in such actions. Israel was instructed to take measures to prevent the destruction of evidence related to the alleged genocide. The International Court of Justice demanded that Israel submit a report on these measures to the court within one month of the decision.

The United Nations top court stopped short of ordering a ceasefire but granted a number of the emergency measures requested by South Africa while it hears the full case accusing Israel of genocide.

The ICJ recognised the right of Palestinians in Gaza to be protected from acts of genocide.

In bringing the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), South Africa had requested an immediate halt to Israel’s ongoing military aggression, which has killed more than 25,000 Palestinians. The court did not grant that.