International Court of Justice: Israel in the dock, victory for law!

International Court of Justice: Israel in the dock, victory for law!

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) handed down its decision this Friday, January 26, on the provisional measures requested by South Africa against Israel regarding the ongoing genocide in the Gaza Strip.

It affirmed its jurisdiction to rule on South Africa’s request under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Risk of Genocide and rejected Israel’s request to strike the case.

While recalling that for the moment it has not ruled on the merits, the Court considers that there is a serious risk of genocide and that provisional measures are necessary to preserve the rights of the Palestinian population.

After recalling the definition of genocide – a set of acts which aim to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group – the president described, with numerous supporting reports, what has been suffered since the October 7 the population of the Gaza Strip: tens of thousands of dead and injured, massive destruction of buildings, forced displacements, deprivation of food, water and care. She thus considered that the very existence of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip is threatened and spoke of the terrible trauma of the survivors.

She also recalled the numerous dehumanizing speeches by Israeli political leaders and considered that there is a direct link between these speeches and the risk of genocide in Gaza. It considered that there was a real and imminent risk that irreparable harm would be caused to the rights of the inhabitants of Gaza.

As a result, the Court orders Israel:
to prevent any genocidal acts, to prevent its military from committing such acts and to ensure the entry into the Gaza Strip of food, water, medicine and other humanitarian needs
- to refrain from committing acts constituting genocide and to prosecute those responsible for inciting genocide
- to submit within one month a report with the measures taken to comply with the orders of the Court.

Although the Court does not explicitly order a ceasefire, the obligation to let in humanitarian aid de facto imposes this ceasefire.

The AFPS welcomes the historic decision of the ICJ. Decisions of the ICJ are final, binding and without appeal, and all States must comply with their legal obligations by taking all possible measures to ensure that Israel respects the Court’s decision and implements it fully and without prejudice. delay the provisional measures ordered.

The ICJ decision increases the legal responsibility of states to end the ongoing Israeli genocide.

The AFPS therefore solemnly addresses the French government and particularly its Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs who affirmed last week before the National Assembly: “accusing Israel of genocide exceeds the moral threshold”. The first reaction of French diplomacy is absolutely not consistent with the seriousness of the situation. Not only does it not specify how it will force Israel to apply the Court’s decisions, but we understand that it will challenge the classification of genocide with it. We therefore remind Messrs. Macron and Séjourné that beyond France’s responsibility, it is their personal and moral responsibility in potential complicity in the crime of genocide that they are committing.

The decisions of the ICJ were all taken almost unanimously by its 17 judges. Mr. Séjourné, will you recognize, as the Court has just done, that the risk of genocide in Gaza is plausible?

South Africa’s approach restores its place to international law. France is committed to respecting the decision of the International Court of Justice: we must therefore take action now! Should Israel be forced to respect the Court’s orders? It is as much a legal as a moral obligation.

It is not enough to remind Israel that it must comply with the law, it must be imposed on it, just as the ceasefire must be imposed by all means, including sanctions. And first and foremost, stop selling weapons to Israel!

The AFPS National Office
January 26, 2024

Photo: The International Court of Justice during the pleadings on January 11 and 12, 2024. Credit: Times Of Gaza