ICJ Orders Israel to Take Measures to Prevent Genocide in Gaza

  • 2024-01-26 03:05:00

The International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled on Friday that Israel should prevent any breaches of the Genocide Convention and ensure “with immediate effect” that its troops do not commit any genocidal acts in the Gaza Strip.

The ICJ said Israel should “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts” that fall under Article 2 of 1948 Genocide Convention against Palestinians in Gaza.

These include “killing members of the group [Palestinians], causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part and imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”.

South Africa brought against the case to the ICJ, alleging that Israel breached the Genocide Convention during the military operation it launched in Gaza after militant group Hamas attacked Israel in October.

South Africa asked the ICJ to impose a set of provisional measures on Israel, starting with the suspension of its military operation.

Israel urged the court to reject the request, saying that “it is Israel and its citizens who would risk irreparable harm if the request of South Africa were to be granted”. It rejected the genocide claims as “baseless”.

While the ICJ rejected Israel’s urging to throw out the case, it did not call for an end to the military operation in Gaza, as South Africa had requested.

The ICJ’s ruling said that Israel should “take all measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip”.

Israel should also “shall take immediate and effective measures to ensure the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip”.

The ICJ further ordered Israel to “take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts within the scope of Article 2 and Article 3 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip”.

It said that Israel should “submit a report on all measures taken to give effect to this order within one month as from the date of the order”.

Before she announced the measures imposed on Israel, ICJ president judge Joan Donoghue noted that “at the present stage of the proceedings, the court is not required to ascertain whether any violations of Israel’s obligations under the Genocide Convention have occurred”.

“Such a finding can only be made by the court at the stage of the examination of the merits of the present case,” Donoghue added.

The Israeli leadership has argued that its military operations are legitimately targeting Hamas, which controls Gaza, after its October armed assault on southern Israel, in which 1,200 people were killed and over 200 seized as hostages.

But South Africa argued that Israeli officials had shown genocidal intent in their statements about the military operation in Gaza, where over 26,000 Palestinians have been killed, over two-thirds of them women and children, according to the health ministry.