UN court orders Israel to avoid genocide in Gaza
The United Nations' top court has ordered the Israeli regime to take all measures within its power to prevent genocide in Gaza, but stopped short of ordering a ceasefire.
The order by the
International Court of Justice was part of its interim ruling on the emergency
measures requested by South Africa in its genocide case against Israel over its
war on the Gaza Strip.
The court demanded
Israel try to contain death and damage in the Gaza Strip and warned it to
"take all measures in its power to prevent" acts that could fall
under the UN Genocide Convention set up in 1948.
The court also ordered
Israel to take measures to prevent and punish direct incitement of genocide in
the Gaza Strip.
Israel must take
"immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently
needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse
conditions of life faced by Palestinians," the court said.
It ordered the regime
to report back in one month on the measures it has been asked to carry out.
Palestinians appear to
be a protected group under the genocide convention, the court said, noting that
it has jurisdiction to rule in the case.
Friday's ruling at the
ICJ did not deal with the core accusation of the case – whether genocide
occurred – but focused on the urgent intervention sought by South Africa.
The case was brought
by South Africa, which has accused Israel of breaching the UN Genocide
Over two days of hearings
earlier this month in the gilded hall of the Peace Palace, where the ICJ sits,
lawyers from both sides battled it over the interpretation of this Convention.
South Africa said
Israel had carried out "genocidal" acts that were intended to cause
the "destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial
and ethnical group."
It urged the court to
order Israel to "immediately suspend" its military operations in Gaza
and allow humanitarian aid to reach the civilians there.
The question now is
whether the court's rulings will be obeyed. Although its rulings are legally
binding, the ICJ has no mechanism to enforce them and they are sometimes
South Africa has been
one of the outspoken critics of Israel’s ongoing onslaught against Palestinians
and has led some initiatives to hold Israel accountable for its actions in
Gaza. The African country, which has experienced long years of an apartheid
regime, has been praised by activists as the vanguard of the global conscience
and voice of the oppressed.
At least 26,083
Palestinians, around 70 percent of them women, young children, and adolescents,
have been killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments and ground offensive
since October 7.