The International Court of Justice has judged it ‘plausible’ that Israel violated the Genocide Convention in relation to its actions in Gaza, but has not ordered a cease-fire.
Key judgement: The court found it plausible that Israel violated the Genocide Convention, ordering Israel to ensure it does not commit prohibited acts.
* The court has jurisdiction to order measures to protect Gaza’s population from further risk of genocide due to the deteriorating situation.
* While it’s not a final determination of guilt, the court required Israel to take measures to stop acts of genocide and incite genocide against Palestinians.
* It also states Israel must provide urgently needed humanitarian aid and basic services, as well as preserve evidence related to the charge of genocide.
Contextual factors: South Africa brought the genocide complaint to the International Court of Justice, calling for provisional measures to halt Israel’s assault on Gaza.
* South Africa provided evidence arguing that Israel’s bombardments constitute a war on the entire Palestinian population in Gaza.
* The legal team cited the killing of civilians, food blockades, and the destruction of Gaza’s healthcare system as “genocidal acts”.
Israel’s response: Israel rejected the allegations and presented a defense, accusing South Africa of presenting a distorted view of hostilities.
* Israel claims high civilian death toll as a consequence of Hamas waging war among non-combatants.
* Israeli defense insists it had no genocidal intent and was exercising the right to defend itself against Hamas.
Importance of verdict: Though the court’s ruling is legally binding, it’s not enforceable.
* The ICC verdict could, however, pressure Israel’s allies, including the U.S., who previously termed South Africa’s case as ‘meritless.
* The International Court of Justice awaits Israel’s report on measures taken in 30 days.
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