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UN court rules on Israel ‘genocide’ hearing

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27 January 2024, Herald Sun

The International Court of Justice delivered its landmark ruling on the emergency measures requested by South Africa in its genocide case against Israel over its war on the Gaza Strip.

Israel vowed to fight until “total victory” against Hamas after the International Court of Justice did not call for a ceasefire in Gaza despite finding a “plausible” risk of genocide.

No side backed down after the United Nations court in The Hague ordered Israel to take measures to prevent potential acts of genocide, while stopping short of demanding an immediate end to the four-month counteroffensive in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the UN as “outrageous” and said they would continue the “just war” against “Hamas monsters who murdered, raped, beheaded and kidnapped” hundreds in its October 7 massacre.

South Africa had brought the case accusing Israel of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention that was set up in the ashes of World War II and the Holocaust.

“At this stage, South Africa does not need to prove that Israel is committing genocide,” Juliette McIntyre, a lecturer in international law at the University of South Australia, told AFP before the ruling.

“They simply need to establish that there is a plausible risk of genocide occurring.”

The court ruling against Israel means “there is a plausible risk of genocide — not that there is genocide”, McIntyre adds.

While not achieving its major objective of an immediate ceasefire, South Africa, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas welcomed the ruling as a “decisive victory” in alienating Israel from the world.

“The (International) Court of Justice’s decision is an important development which contributes to isolating Israel and exposing its crimes in Gaza,” Hamas said in a statement.

Israel must report to the court within a month on how it is upholding the order to prevent acts of genocide. While the ruling is legally binding, the court has no enforcement mechanism. Russia, for example, has been ordered to end its war in Ukraine.

The 15 to 2 ruling, which also ordered Israel to “prevent and punish” incitement to genocide, did not consider whether Israelis were committing genocide, which is a process that can take several years.

South Africa had accused Israel of “genocidal” acts and urged the court to order Israel to “immediately suspend” its military operations in Gaza.

South Africa’s Ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement the ICJ’s decision “is a momentous one,” adding it puts other countries “on notice” of the potential risk of genocide.

“This necessarily imposes an obligation on all States to cease funding and facilitating Israel’s military actions, which are plausibly genocidal,” the statement said.

Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said they would not be “lectured on morality” while fighting Hamas in Gaza, saying those seeking justice would not find it in The Hague.

At least 26,083 people have been killed and 64,487 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The death toll in Israel from the October 7 Hamas attacks stands at 1,139.

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Article source: Herald Sun/27.1 2024

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000