By Samira Mohammed
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is scheduled to declare on Friday whether it will proceed with immediate sanctions against Israel in response to the genocide accusations made by South Africa during Israel’s Gaza offensive. In a statement released on Wednesday, the United Nations’ highest court revealed that a panel of 17 judges will deliver its decision on January 26 at 12:00 GMT in response to South Africa’s requests. South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor will attend the announcement in The Hague.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will rule on emergency measures that South Africa is requesting be taken in order to stop Israel from going any farther, rather than the main question of whether or not Israel is committing genocide. In order to avoid more grave and irreversible injury to the rights of the Palestinian people under the Genocide Convention, South Africa petitioned the International Court of Justice, often known as the World Court, to order an emergency suspension of Israel’s military assault in Gaza during recent proceedings.
In its nine submissions to the court, South Africa demanded that Israel stop its military actions in Gaza and make it easier for humanitarian aid to reach the area. The relevance of the court’s reaction to these petitions was emphasized by former ICJ legal officer Michael Becker, who emphasized that the court is not required to grant the precise measures asked by South Africa but might choose the most appropriate temporary measures instead.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has no means of enforcement even though its decisions are final and cannot be challenged. As a result, it is unclear whether any provisional measures will be followed, especially in light of Israel’s denial of the accusations of genocide and its claim to the right to defend itself against Hamas.A decision in the case may be rendered by the ICJ in three to four years after a rigorous process of written submissions, oral arguments, and counterarguments. Provisional measures may be approved in the interim if South Africa can show that there is an immediate danger of irreversible harm to the Palestinian population in Gaza as well as the validity of its claims under the genocide treaty.
Israel has rejected the genocide allegations as distorted and defended its actions as targeting Hamas rather than civilians. The ongoing conflict has resulted in a significant loss of life, predominantly among women and children, as reported by Palestinian authorities in Gaza.
Israel has always claimed that UN investigations and international courts are biased, yet it did attend the most recent ICJ proceedings. Though the European Union has remained mostly silent on the subject, Israel’s international position would be called into question by any ICJ order to cease operations. This is especially true given that the United States is its main ally.