ICJ grants SA’s request, calls for ceasefire in Gaza

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has issued a decisive order to Israel, demanding an immediate halt to its military offensive in Rafah.

ICJ President Nawaf Salam announced that the court voted 13-2 in favour of the order. He emphasised the urgent need to address the worsening humanitarian crisis in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

“The situation in Gaza has deteriorated significantly since our initial order in January,” Salam stated. “The humanitarian conditions are now disastrous. Israel must immediately halt its military offensive in Rafah.”

Escalating violence

The court’s decision comes amid escalating violence and a dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. Since the onset of the Rafah offensive, approximately 800,000 Palestinians have been displaced.

The ICJ also highlighted that the provisional measures ordered in March had not fully addressed the crisis. This necessitated the new emergency order.

The ICJ’s ruling follows a petition from the South African government, which has been actively advocating for additional measures against Israel due to its actions in Gaza.

South Africa had described the situation as dire. It warned of an imminent famine and severe shortages of essential supplies, leaving Palestinians on the brink of starvation.

In January, the ICJ ruled in favour of South Africa’s claims. It found a plausible case of genocide committed by Israel against Palestinians. The court ordered Israel to take steps to prevent genocide and increase humanitarian aid to Gaza. It was also ordered to report back to South Africa within a month. However, the court refrained from ordering a ceasefire at that time.

South Africa’s last application underscored the urgency of the situation, warning that time is running out for Palestinians in Gaza.

300,000 lives lost in the conflict

“It is already too late for the 30,000 people who have lost their lives since the start of the conflict,” the application stated. “The world has an obligation to do whatever can be done immediately to stop further suffering and loss of life.”

The ICJ has now taken a firmer stance, calling for the release of hostages taken during the Hamas attack. It also urged immediate and effective measures to protect the rights of Palestinians under the Genocide Convention.

“The people of Gaza cannot wait,” Salam emphasised.

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