In The Hague, U.N. judges are set to announce their decision on Friday regarding South Africa’s plea for immediate measures against Israel. The accusation, presented at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accuses Israel of state-led genocide during its military operation in Gaza. The ruling will not address the core allegation of genocide but will specifically focus on South Africa’s request for urgent intervention.
Among the emergency measures sought by South Africa is an immediate cessation of Israel’s military operation, which Gaza health authorities claim has resulted in over 25,000 casualties and significant destruction in the enclave. Israel has urged the court to dismiss the case, with a government spokesperson anticipating the rejection of what they termed as “spurious and specious charges.”
Two weeks ago, South Africa argued that Israel’s aerial and ground offensive aims to bring about “the destruction of the population” of Gaza. Israel, in response, denies the accusations, asserting its compliance with international law and its right to self-defense.
The conflict between Israel and Gaza escalated after a cross-border incident on October 7 by Hamas militants, leading to Israel’s military intervention. Israeli officials reported 1,200 casualties, predominantly civilians, and 240 individuals taken hostage.
The 17-judge panel will decide solely on the imposition of provisional measures and whether there is a credible risk that Israel’s operation violates the 1948 Genocide Convention. The court is expected to issue its ruling at 1 p.m. (1200 GMT) in a one-hour hearing.
South Africa has requested nine emergency measures, akin to a restraining order, while the court proceeds with a full case, which may extend over several years. Pretoria seeks an order to halt Israeli military action in Gaza, facilitate increased humanitarian aid, and prompt Israel to investigate and prosecute potential violations.
While the court is not obligated to adopt South Africa’s requests, it retains the option to implement its own measures if it determines jurisdiction at this stage of the case.