Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

In recent public hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Israel and South Africa presented their arguments regarding the genocide allegations. South Africa has accused Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, a claim that Israel has vehemently denied.

With the conclusion of the public hearings, attention turns to the next steps in the legal proceedings. South Africa, in its submission to the ICJ, has proposed various provisional measures.

These measures, if ordered by the court, would require Israel to take specific actions and hold precedence over other cases. The decision on these provisional measures can occur relatively swiftly, possibly within a matter of weeks.

South Africa’s requested provisional measures encompass the immediate suspension of Israel’s Gaza offensive, cessation of forced displacement of Palestinians, facilitation of humanitarian access, and preservation of evidence. While ICJ decisions are binding, lacking an enforcement mechanism, former diplomat Dr. Kingsley Makhubela clarified that the court’s findings, having no legal force, may not be implemented.

“The ruling can’t be forced on anyone. It is advisory. Israel could ignore it or disregard it and carry on with its activities, there is no recourse for that.”

The ICJ can order all of the provisional measures requested by South Africa, it could decline to order anything and it could order something completely different. It can even decide it is not competent to judge.

After the court decides whether or not to apply emergency measures, it will then look at the broader case “on the merits” which is South Africa’s charge that Israel is in breach of the UN Genocide Convention.

However, unlike the above, the ruling of the broader case “on the merits” can take up to several years.

This echoes what Makhubela has said: “This presentation before the court is on substantive matter on whether there is genocide going on in Palestine. That would take years for the ICJ to investigate an establish with some level of certainty on whether there is genocide going on on or not.”

Last month, South Africa launched a case at the International ICJ against Israel for what it said were “genocidal” acts in Gaza.

According to a statement, the ICJ application relates to alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Genocide Convention. It said that “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza”.

As the world observes its 100th day of Israel’s war on Gaza, more than 23,700 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its war on 7 October, in retaliation to a large-scale attack by Hamas into Israeli territory. According to Israeli officials, 1,200 died in the attack by Hamas.

The filing has been backed by several countries, including Brazil, Jordan, Türkiye, Bolivia, and Venezuela.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *