International Court of Justice First Ruling: Israel Genocide Acts Plausible

Today, January 26, the International Court of Justice ruled in favor of implementing emergency provisional measures requested by South Africa in its case against Israel under the convention of committing or preventing a genocide. 

The ruling stated that the court found that there’s a plausible case of Israel committing a genocide.

By an overwhelming majority of 15 to 2, the court ruled that Israel shall take all measures within its power to prevent genocidal acts against Palestinians. By the same ratio, it also ruled that Israel will ensure that its army doesn’t commit any genocidal acts.

With a vote of 16 to 1, the court also ruled that Israel will prevent and punish public incitement to commit genocide against Palestinians and will ensure the provision of urgent services and humanitarian aid to Gaza.

With a vote of 15 to 2, the court also ruled that Israel will ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of genocide.

Finally, also with a vote of 15 to 2, the court ordered Israel to submit a report to the court in 1 month showing its compliance with these orders.

Rejecting Israel’s Call to Dismiss the Case

Importantly, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rejected Israel’s call to dismiss the case under pretexts of implausibility.

The court found that some acts committed by Israel may have the capability of violating the genocide convention, so the accusation of genocide is definitely plausible.

Furthermore, it called for urgency in implementing the provisional measures to prevent the unrepairable.

How About the Call for a Ceasefire?

Many have noted that the court did not call for a ceasefire. Such an issue, however, remains a legal matter that is out of the court’s jurisdiction.

Some legal opinions suggest that the court is not within its jurisdiction to call for a ceasefire given that one of the belligerents in the fighting is Hamas, who is a non-state actor and accordingly is not a signatory of the convention, as the court can only issue rulings that apply to states.

Following Steps

Following the refusal of the court to dismiss the case and its finding that some acts might amount to genocide, the court now heads towards conducting the necessary processes and decide on whether the genocide convention was indeed violated.

International campaigners have considered the ruling to be a significant step in favor of Palestinian rights.

Observers have also considered the ruling to be a blow for Israel and the United States, leaving a historic charge for the books. For the first time in history, a plausible case for genocide against Israel has been validated at the ICJ.