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Gaza: World Court orders Israel to suspend military operations in Rafah

This follows a request from South Africa in a pending case accusing Israel of violating its obligations under the Genocide Convention.

Read New temporary measures in an open session at the court in The Hague, ICJ Judge Nawaf Salam declared that Israel must comply with its obligations under the Agreement Genocide Convention “immediately stop the military offensive and any other actions in the Rafah administration that could subject the Palestinian population in Gaza to living conditions that could lead to total and partial physical destruction” .

The court made that decision by 13 votes in favor and 2 votes against.

The new temporary measures were introduced in response to South Africa’s moves. the request made on 10 May in connection with initial allegations in December that Israel was violating its obligations under the Genocide Convention in the war in Gaza, which erupted after attacks led by Hamas entered Israel in October, killing more than 1,200 people and arresting 250 others. hostage.

To date, Israel’s military response has killed nearly 36,000 Palestinians and caused widespread destruction and looming famine in the besieged and bombarded area.

The court ordered the opening of the Rafah border crossing

Due to worsening conditions on the ground since Israel attacked Rafah on May 7, the court decided, also by 13 votes in favor to 2 votes against, that new interim measures would require Israel to open Rafah to deliver emergency humanitarian goods without hindrance. support and ensure unimpeded access for fact-finding missions to investigate allegations of genocide.

The Rafah border crossing, the main entry point for aid to the area, has been closed since May 7.

“The Court does not believe that the evacuation efforts and related measures that Israel asserts were taken to enhance the security of civilians in the Gaza Strip, and in particular those recently evacuated from the Rafah regime, is enough to reduce the enormous risks that Mr. Salam said: Palestinians are affected by the military attack in Rafah.

In addition, the ICJ requested Israel to submit a report within one month on the steps taken to implement these provisional measures.

Conditions worsened

The ICJ has noted that the situation in Gaza has worsened since it last issued interim measures in March, Mr. Salam said, adding that since Israel’s attack on Rafah, Najjar Hospital has not operations and aid efforts have been affected.

The court also noted that Israel’s evacuation order for Rafah residents had caused more than 800,000 people to flee to places such as the coastal area of ​​Al Mawasi, which lacked basic services and necessities to accommodate the population. Surname.

Since accepting the South African case in January, the ICJ has issued interim measures in January And Steps are Accordingly, Israel must take all measures to ensure sufficient humanitarian aid for Gaza.

However, UN agencies are reporting that little aid is currently flowing into Gaza.

The court reiterated its call for the release of hostages

On Friday, Mr. Salam recalled that in two previous orders on interim measures “the court expressed deep concern about the fate of the hostages kidnapped in the attack in Israel on September 7.” October 2023 and have been held since then by Hamas and other armed groups, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.”

“The court finds it deeply troubling that many of these hostages remain in detention and reiterates its call for their immediate and unconditional release,” he said.

Gazans continue to be forced to evacuate since the military offensive on Rafah began in early May.

Gazans continue to be forced to evacuate since the military offensive on Rafah began in early May.

The UN Secretary General sends the ICJ order to the Security Council

The Secretary-General has taken note of the new temporary measures, United Nations Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists at United Nations Headquarters on Friday.

Recall that, according to the provisions of uncharted and as for the Statute of the Court, the decisions of the ICJ “are binding”, the UN chief “is confident that the parties will duly comply with the court’s orders”.

“In accordance with the Rules of the Court, the Secretary-General will also promptly transmit notification of interim measures ordered by the court to Security Councilhe say.

What is the difference between ICJ and ICC?

There is often confusion between International Criminal Court (ICC) and International Court of Justice (ICJ). Both courts have open cases against Israel related to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The simplest way to explain the difference is that the ICJ cases concern states and the ICC is a criminal court that specializes in trying individuals for war crimes or crimes against humanity. While the ICJ is an agency of the United Nations, the ICC is legally independent of the United Nations, although approved by the General Assembly.

The ICJ is currently considering South Africa’s claim that Israel violated the Genocide Convention.

In Monday, ICC applies for arrest warrant regarding possible war crimes against three Hamas leaders and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The request for an order is currently being considered by the court’s judges.

Read more about the courts in our explainer above ICJ and ICC.

Watch Friday’s announcement at the ICJ in The Hague below:


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