ICJ Orders ‘Israel’ to Halt Genocidal Acts; Fails to Order Ceasefire

Orinoco Tribune, January 26. 2024 —

In the UN’s top court hearing, the World Court stated that it would not dismiss the case despite the Israeli request, calling on the occupation to halt all military action that aligns with genocide.

The United Nations’ highest court asserted its jurisdiction to act on the emergency measures sought by South Africa in its lawsuit against “Israel’s” actions in the Gaza war.

Despite the Israeli request for dismissal, the World Court stated that it would not dismiss the case.

On Friday, the UN’s top court ordered that some rights presented by South Africa in its genocide case against the Israeli war on Gaza are plausible.

As the reading proceeded, the court recognized the right of Palestinians in Gaza to be protected from acts of genocide, adding that the Palestinians are a protected group under the genocide convention.  However, the ruling does not deal with the core accusation of the case – whether genocide occurred – but focuses on the urgent intervention sought by South Africa.

Among the measures South Africa requested was an immediate halt to the Israeli military operation, which has laid waste to much of the enclave and killed more than 26,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities.

‘Israel’ expected to take measures against genocide acts
The Court ordered “Israel” to take all measures to prevent genocide acts in Gaza, ensure its forces do not commit genocide, and take measures to improve the humanitarian situation.

“Israel” is required to submit a report to the court within a month, detailing its actions to comply with the order. Furthermore, it must implement measures to prevent and punish direct incitement of genocide in the context of its war on Gaza.

“The state of Israel shall…. take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of the Genocide Convention,” the court said.

In a comprehensive decision, 15 of the 17-judge panel of the ICJ voted in favor of urgent measures, addressing most of South Africa’s requests, though notably excluding an order for “Israel” to cease military actions in Gaza.

S. Africa takes ‘Israel’ to court
Last year, South Africa submitted a motion to the International Court of Justice on December 29, 2023, accusing Israeli forces of violating the UN’s Genocide Convention. South Africa’s submission to the Hague-based court reads that the Israeli occupation forces [IOF] operations “are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial, and ethnical group.”

The International Court of Justice has the authority to issue “provisional measures,” emergency orders aimed at safeguarding Palestinians in Gaza from potential breaches of the convention. These orders are legally binding and cannot be appealed, though enforcing them poses a challenge.

On December 29, “Israel” rejected South Africa’s launch of a genocide case against it at the ICJ. Despite the sea of war crime evidence, the occupation labeled the case as groundless blood libel lacking legal merit and asserted that its army was adhering to international humanitarian law.

On that note, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted that his government might not adhere to any ICJ order, stating, “No one will stop us – not The Hague, not the Axis of Evil, and no one else,” in reference to the Axis of Resistance.

First ICJ hearing
South Africa’s legal team stated on January 11th – in its opening statement at The Hague – that South Africa has recognized the ongoing Nakba of the Palestinian people through “Israel’s” colonization since 1948, “which has systematically and forcibly dispossessed, displaced, and fragmented the Palestinian people, deliberately denying them the internationally recognized inalienable right to self-determination and their internationally recognized rights of return as refugees to their towns and villages in what is now the state of Israel.”

The team emphasized that South Africa is particularly mindful of “Israel’s” “institutionalized regime of discriminatory laws, policies, and practices designed and maintained to establish domination, subjecting the Palestinian people to apartheid on both sides of the Green Line.”

They also pointed out that the decade-long impunity for widespread and systematic human rights violations has emboldened “Israel” in its recurrence and intensification of humanitarian crimes in Palestine, while simultaneously acknowledging that “the genocidal acts and omissions” by “Israel” “inevitably form part of a continuum of illegal acts perpetrated against the Palestinian people since 1948.”

The ICJ’s limited enforcement capabilities were exemplified when it ordered Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine, a directive that went unheeded. If the court rules against “Israel”, it could intensify political pressure, potentially leading to sanctions.

Second ICJ hearing
During the second day of the hearing on January 12th, “Israel” urged judges to dismiss the genocide case, stressing that the calls to cease its aggression against the Palestinian resistance lacked merit.

“Israel’s” legal adviser argued that halting the genocidal campaign would leave the regime defenseless, citing a cross-border raid by the Palestinian resistance on October 7.

Minister Lamola countered, stating that self-defense is not a valid response to genocide.

Despite South Africa presenting a comprehensive document citing Israeli top military and political officials calling directly or indirectly for genocide in Gaza, “Israel” urged judges to dismiss the case, claiming that the calls to cease its aggression lacked merit.

The Israeli position was aggressively backed by the United States, which was later joined by Germany which announced it would get involved as a third party in favor of “Israel.”

(Al Mayadeen – English)

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