In a Historic Decision, the ICJ Orders Israel to Prevent Genocide in Gaza

Today, 26 January 2024, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) released its first order and provisional measures in the case of South Africa v. Israel finding South Africa’s contention that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza plausible. In light of its determination that Palestinians in Gaza are at risk of irreparable harm, the ICJ ordered provisional measures that obligate Israel to fulfill its commitments under the Genocide Convention and require that Israel ensures that its military does not commit genocidal acts, including the killing or causing of severe injury to Palestinian civilians in Gaza. 


In its order, the ICJ essentially adopted all of South Africa’s arguments. It cited statements made by Israel’s Defense Minister, the President, and other officials and referred to them as evidence of incitement to genocide. It called on Israel to investigate and prosecute all officials for genocidal statements. It further ordered Israel to submit a report in a month to the Court on the actions that it has taken to prevent genocide, in compliance with this order.  


The Court highlighted Israel's killing of over 25,700 Palestinians, injury of over 63,000 Palestinians, displacement of 1.7 million people, and the fact that 93% of the population in Gaza are facing lack of food and starvation. 


In response, Adalah commented: 


The ICJ's judgment issues a compelling indictment against Israel and marks a crucial stride in safeguarding Palestinian lives in Gaza. The relentless killings and destruction in Gaza, coupled with Israel’s persistent failure to hold its armed forces accountable for severe violations of international law, indicates that the only way for Israel to comply with the order and to prevent further violations of the Genocide Convention is to immediately cease its assault on Gaza. Israel and the international community must uphold their shared obligations under the Genocide Convention, international law, and ensure compliance with the Court’s orders.


Read the full ICJ order, here

Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90