ICJ orders Israel to ensure prevention of genocide in Gaza

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to implement measures aimed at preventing genocide in the Gaza Strip.

The court stopped short of ordering an immediate ceasefire in the protracted war.

The ICJ gave the ruling on Friday in response to a suit filed by South Africa. The suit accuses Israel of genocide in Gaza.

South Africa had petitioned the ICJ in December, saying the war between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, violates the 1948 genocide convention.

The 1948 treaty defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”.

South Africa had requested immediate measures, saying the court should order an end to the violence against Palestinians in order to protect their rights “from further serious and irreparable harm”.

All states that signed the convention, including Israel and Palestine, are obliged to not commit genocide and to prevent and punish it.

Delivering judgment, Joan Donoghue, presiding judge, said Israel must try to contain death and damage in the Gaza Strip.

Although Donoghue did not order a ceasefire, she said Israel must take immediate, effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance in the enclave.

The judge said the ruling creates international legal obligations for Israel, and asked the Jewish nation to report to the court within a month on what it is doing to uphold the order to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza.