ICJ orders Israel to take all measures to prevent genocide

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to take all measures to prevent genocide against the people of Gaza.

Israel must do everything to "prevent the commission of all acts within the scope" of the Genocide Convention, said the International Court of Justice on Friday.

PHOTO -ICJ: ICJ President Judge Joan Donoghue 

This comes after South Africa lodged an application with the ICJ in December 2023, arguing that Israel was violating the UN Convention on Genocide and seeking urgent measures to protect Palestinians in Gaza.

Fifteen out of 17 judges voted for Israel to take all measures to prevent any acts in the scope of the Genocide Convention.

"The State of Israel shall, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in relation to the Palestinian people as a group protected by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, desist from the commission of any and all acts within the scope of Article II of the Convention, in particular:

(a) killing members of the group;

(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to the members of the group;

(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and

(d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group," says Donoghue.

ICJ President Judge Joan Donoghue said the court found that there is a genuine dispute between Israel and South Africa - and therefore, the ICJ has jurisdiction to hear the case.

The court also rejected Israel's argument that South Africa's case against it should be removed from the court's roll.

The war started on October 7 when Hamas staged an unprecedented attack on Israel that left about 1,140 people dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel's relentless military campaign on Gaza since has left at least 25,900 dead, about 70 per cent of them women, children and adolescents, according to the Hamas government's health ministry.


Its filing states that Pretoria is "acutely aware" of the "particular weight of responsibility" in accusing Israel of all countries of breaking the Genocide Convention.

But it also says that no attack can justify alleged breaches of the Convention and that Israel has "its own obligation" as a signatory to prevent genocide.

In reaction to the ruling, and Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor says although she would hoped for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, she is satisfied with the immediate measures ordered by the ICJ

Pandor spoke to the media outside on Friday after the ICJ ruling ordering Israel to take all measures to prevent genocide. 

"I believe that in exercising order, there would have to be a ceasefire. Without it, the order does not actually work. I would have wanted a ceasefire, but there is no way I am going to say I am disappointed. I hoped for it but the fact of delivering humanitarian aid, the fact of taking measures that would reduce harm against persons who have no roles in what Israel is combatting, for me requires a ceasefire. 


Meanwhile, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola hailed the ruling as a decisive victory for the international rule of law.

"This is a victory for the international rule of war and the children, women and vulnerable people of Gaza. This is also an assertion of a long standing South Africa's positions with regards to the United Nations Position. As you are aware the Freedom Charter declares that there must be peace and prosperity across the globe so this is a humbling experience for the country. I do believe that Nelson Mandela will be smiling in his grave.’’


Done By: Mitchum George


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