ICJ

Israel remains bound to fully comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention says ICJ

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The International Court of Justice in Hague has said that State of Israel remains bound to fully comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention including by ensuring the safety and security of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

It observed that “The perilous situation demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the Court in its Order of 26 January 2024, which are applicable throughout the Gaza Strip, including in Rafah, and does not demand the indication of additional provisional measures.”

The Court noted that the most recent developments in the Gaza Strip, and in Rafah in particular, ‘would exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences’, as stated by the United Nations Secretary-General (Remarks to the General Assembly on priorities for 2024 (7 Feb. 2024).

The court made the above points in a case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel). The decision comes in the wake of South Africa’s letter dated 12 February 2024 and Israel’s observations thereon received on 15 February 2024.

History of the proceedings

On 29 December 2023, South Africa filed an Application instituting proceedings against Israel concerning alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the “Genocide Convention”) in relation to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The Application also contained a request for the indication of provisional measures, pursuant to Article 41 of the Statute of the Court and Articles 73, 74 and 75 of the Rules of Court.

The Applicant requested the Court to indicate provisional measures in order to “protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people under the Genocide Convention” and “to ensure Israel’s compliance with its obligations under the Genocide Convention not to engage in genocide, and to prevent and to punish genocide”.

Pursuant to Article 74 of the Rules of Court, “request for the indication of provisional measures shall have priority over all other cases”.

Public hearings on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa were held on  11 and 12 January. On 26 January 2024, the Court delivered its Order on South Africa’s request.

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