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World court to rule on measures in Gaza genocide case

UN judges are due to rule on South Africa’s request for emergency measures against Israel, which is accused at the World Court of state-led genocide for its military operation in Gaza.

The ruling at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will not deal with the core accusation of the case, whether genocide occurred, but will focus on the urgent intervention sought by South Africa.

Among the measures South Africa requested is an immediate halt to Israel’s military operation, which has laid waste to much of the enclave and killed more than 25,000 people, according to Gaza health authorities.

Israel has asked the court to reject the case outright. An Israeli government spokesperson said they expect the UN’s top court to “throw out these spurious and specious charges”.

South Africa argued two weeks ago that Israel’s aerial and ground offensive is aimed to bring about “the destruction of the population” of Gaza.

Israel rejects the accusations, saying it respects international law and has a right to defend itself.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after a cross-border rampage on 7 October by Hamas militants.

Israeli officials said 1,200 people were killed, mostly civilians, and 240 taken hostage.

The 17-judge panel will only decide on whether or not to impose provisional measures and whether there is a plausible risk that Israel’s operation violates the 1948 Genocide Convention.

The court will issue its ruling at 12pm Irish time in a hearing expected to last about an hour.

South Africa has asked it to issue nine emergency measures, which act like a restraining order while the court hears the case in full, which could take years.

The South African government wants the court to order a halt to Israeli military action in Gaza, allowing in more humanitarian aid and for Israel to investigate and prosecute possible violations.

The court is not bound to follow South Africa’s requests and could order its own measures if it finds it has jurisdiction at this stage of the case.

Irish support for South Africa

Earlier this week, a motion tabled by the Social Democrats, which demanded that the Irish Government support South Africa’s assertion that a genocide has been taking place in Gaza, was defeated in the Dáil

An amended Government motion was later passed.

The lengthy amendment states the Irish Government will consider an intervention “… as a matter of urgency after the Court has made its order on preliminary measures and the filing by South Africa of its memorial in the case.”

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