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ICJ provisional measures Order in Preventing Genocide in the Gaza Strip case (South Africa v. Israel)

The ICJ issued its provisional measures orders on Friday, 26 January 2024. Read the summary (prepared by the Registry), the Order English French. The individual opinions: Declaration of Judge Xue English; Dissenting opinion of Judge Sebutinde English; Declaration of Judge Bhandari English; Declaration of Judge Nolte English; Separate opinion of Judge ad hoc Barak English.

The dispositif of the Order reads:

THE COURT,
Indicates the following provisional measures:
(1) By fifteen votes to two,
The State of Israel shall
, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of this Convention, in particular:

(a) killing members of the group;
(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and
(d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

IN FAVOUR: President Donoghue; Vice-President Gevorgian; Judges Tomka, Abraham, Bennouna, Yusuf, Xue, Bhandari, Robinson, Salam, Iwasawa, Nolte, Charlesworth, Brant; Judge ad hoc Moseneke;
AGAINST: Judge Sebutinde; Judge ad hoc Barak;

(2) By fifteen votes to two,
The State of Israel shall ensure with immediate effect that its military does not commit any acts described in point 1 above;

IN FAVOUR: President Donoghue; Vice-President Gevorgian; Judges Tomka, Abraham, Bennouna, Yusuf, Xue, Bhandari, Robinson, Salam, Iwasawa, Nolte, Charlesworth, Brant; Judge ad hoc Moseneke;
AGAINST: Judge Sebutinde; Judge ad hoc Barak;

(3) By sixteen votes to one,
The State of Israel shall take all measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip
;
IN FAVOUR: President Donoghue; Vice-President Gevorgian; Judges Tomka, Abraham, Bennouna, Yusuf, Xue, Bhandari, Robinson, Salam, Iwasawa, Nolte, Charlesworth, Brant; Judges ad hoc Barak, Moseneke;
AGAINST: Judge Sebutinde;

(4) By sixteen votes to one,
The State of Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip;

IN FAVOUR: President Donoghue; Vice-President Gevorgian; Judges Tomka, Abraham, Bennouna, Yusuf, Xue, Bhandari, Robinson, Salam, Iwasawa, Nolte, Charlesworth, Brant; Judges ad hoc Barak, Moseneke;
AGAINST: Judge Sebutinde;

(5) By fifteen votes to two,
The State of Israel shall take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts within the scope of Article II and Article III of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip
;
IN FAVOUR: President Donoghue; Vice-President Gevorgian; Judges Tomka, Abraham, Bennouna, Yusuf, Xue, Bhandari, Robinson, Salam, Iwasawa, Nolte, Charlesworth, Brant; Judge ad hoc Moseneke;
AGAINST: Judge Sebutinde; Judge ad hoc Barak;

 

(6) By fifteen votes to two,
The State of Israel shall submit a report to the Court on all measures taken to give effect to this Order within one month as from the date of this Order.

IN FAVOUR: President Donoghue; Vice-President Gevorgian; Judges Tomka, Abraham, Bennouna, Yusuf, Xue, Bhandari, Robinson, Salam, Iwasawa, Nolte, Charlesworth, Brant; Judge ad hoc Moseneke;
AGAINST: Judge Sebutinde; Judge ad hoc Barak.

We are all hoping that the Order of the Court will have a positive effect in alleviating the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and preventing the risk of genocide. That said, the latest statements by the Israeli government, the military operations by the IDF and obstacles to letting in humanitarian aid, the freezing of funding to UNRWA by many Western countries (including ao the United States, Australia, Canada, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Finland), do not bode well.

The overwhelming majority of the organized international community, those 153 States that already were demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire on 10 December 2023, needs to push harder at the UN and other fora, to ensure that Israel complies with the Order of the Court and the ongoing carnage is stopped.

I will try to provide a more detailed commentary of the Order and the individual opinions in the coming week. There are quite a number of good explanations and assessments in the usual blogs.

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