The International Court will issue a decision to take urgent measures in the case of genocide in Gaza
THE HAGUE (Reuters) – United Nations judges will rule on Friday on South Africa’s request for emergency measures against Israel, which the international court accuses of committing genocide over its military operation in Gaza.
The ruling issued by the International Court of Justice on Friday will not address the core accusation in the case – whether genocide occurred – but will focus on the urgent intervention sought by South Africa.
Among the measures requested by South Africa was an immediate halt to the Israeli military operation, which destroyed most of the Strip and killed more than 25,000 people, according to health authorities in Gaza.
Israel asked the court to dismiss the case completely. An Israeli government spokesman said on Thursday that they expect the UN Supreme Court to “drop these false and misleading accusations.”
South Africa said two weeks ago that the Israeli air and ground attack aimed to “destroy the population” in Gaza.
Israel rejects these accusations, saying that it respects international law and has the right to defend itself.
Israel launched its war on Gaza after a cross-border attack by Hamas activists on October 7. Israeli officials said 1,200 people were killed, most of them civilians, and 240 were taken hostage.
The 17-judge panel will only decide whether to impose interim measures and whether there is a reasonable risk that the Israeli operation would be in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention.
The court will issue its ruling at 1 p.m. (1200 GMT) in a session expected to last about an hour.
South Africa has asked it to issue nine emergency measures, which act as a restraining order while the court hears the case fully, which could take years.
Pretoria wants the court to order a halt to Israeli military operations in Gaza, allow more humanitarian aid in, and allow Israel to investigate potential violations and prosecute their perpetrators.
The court is not obliged to follow up on South Africa’s requests, and can order its own proceedings if it finds that it has jurisdiction at this stage of the case.
(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Anthony Deutsch)