The International Court of Justice did not demand the ceasefire that South Africa had sought, but rather directed Tel Aviv to take steps to end acts of genocide in the besieged region. The ICJ ruled on Friday in favor of implementing emergency measures, although it failed to rule on the central question of South Africa’s case—namely, the question that genocide has actually happened in Gaza. a major group of the court judges presided over the case today.
Six interim measures were required by the court in its interim ruling. It stated that Israel had to do everything in its ability to stop conduct that might fall under Article 2 of the 1948 Genocide Convention.
In addition, Israel needs to stop its forces from carrying out acts of genocide, stop encouraging genocide, permit more humanitarian supplies to reach Gaza, and take decisive action to guarantee the safeguarding of any evidence linked to claims made under the Genocide Convention.
The verdict also mandated that Israel submit an update to the court detailing its implementation of the measures within a month.
Israeli military assault has claimed the lives of over 26,000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza since the conflict started on October 7. To the observer’s surprise, the court did not mandate an end to operations. It did, however, urge Israel to take further steps to safeguard Palestinians, whom it described as a “protected group under the Genocide Convention.”
The ICJ has the authority to make a decision in this case, according to Court President Joan E. Donoghue, who delivered the verdict. She also stated that there is enough proof of disagreement for the genocide case to move on.
The court president also stated that the ICG was “of the view that Israel must take measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide” until a final decision was rendered.
Out of the 17 judges, 15 voted in favor of implementing all emergency measures. Judge Julia Sebutinde was the only one who voted against every proposal. One of the judges seated at The Hague, Aharon Barak, an Israeli, voted in favor of two of the proposals despite his conviction that genocide is not plausible. “In the hopes that the step will help reduce hostilities and deter damaging rhetoric,” he added, he joined the majority of lawmakers.
In an effort to “lessen the consequences of the armed conflict for the most vulnerable,” Barak said, he voted in favor of the resolution allowing aid to be sent to Gaza.
In a sense, a ceasefire would “render Israel defenseless against an attack, and that’s not really within the purview of the court in this case,” according to Thomas MacManus, a Queen Mary University professor in London said.
The ruling was praised by South Africa, who described it as a “decisive victory” for the rule of law worldwide regulations.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation in South Africa released an announcement saying, “We sincerely hope that Israel will act to comply with this Order fully, as it is bound to do, and not act to frustrate its application, as it has publicly threatened to do.”
In a statement on the decision, Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyadh Maliki praised the court’s decision and described it as a “crucial reminder” that everyone must abide by the law.