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ICJ Delivers Interim Ruling On South Africa's Genocide Allegations Against Israel

Updated: Jan 28

Rest Of The World | Human Rights | South Africa January 26, 2024

The UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on the afternoon of January 26, 2024 (local time), delivered an interim ruling on a case by which South Africa made genocide allegations against Israel.

In the case, South Africa accused Israel of commiting some genocidal acts in the manner it is conducting its ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza. The war followed Hamas group's attack on Israel on October 7, 2023. South Africa outlined to the court the claimed genocidal acts and illustrated them by saying, among others, that too many innocent inhabitants of Gaza who had nothing to do with the Hamas' attack on Israel, have been killed in the war. South Africa then sought some rights from the court on behalf of the people of Palestine, including immediate ceasefire to Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.

In its interim ruling that was aired live worldwide, ICJ observed that some of the rights sought by South Africa on behalf of the people of Palestine are plausible, and ordered, among others, the following.

  1. Israel to take all measures to prevent genocide in its war in Gaza, and

  2. Hamas to release all hostages it abducted during its attack on Israel, without conditions

The ICJ interim ruling, however, fell short of ordering a ceasefire to the war, probably due to the court's recognition that under the international law, Israel has right to defend itself. Hamas group deliberately started the bloody conflict through unleashing unprovoked indiscriminate attacks on several settlements in Israel on October 7, 2023, hence putting Israel on the defensive.

It may take several months or even years before ICJ reaches final ruling on the case.


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