Judge Joan Donoghue speaks at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, on Friday.
Hear from Netanyahu after ICJ ruling on Israel
04:19 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

The UN’s top court ordered Israel to prevent genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, but stopped short of calling for Israel to suspend its military campaign in the war-torn enclave, as South Africa had requested.

In a hearing in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Friday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said Israel must “take all measures” to limit the death and destruction caused by its military campaign, prevent and punish incitement to genocide, and ensure access to humanitarian aid.

South Africa had accused Israel of violating international laws on genocide, written in the wake of the Holocaust, and wanted the court to order Israel to cease fire in Gaza.

While the ICJ did not order Israel to end its war, the ruling represents a blow to Israel, which had hoped the case would be dismissed outright.

Friday’s decision related only to South Africa’s request for emergency measures, which act like a restraining order while the court considers the full merits of the genocide case, which could take years.

“The catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is at serious risk of deteriorating further before the court renders its final judgment,” Judge Joan Donoghue, the ICJ’s president, said Friday.

By an overwhelming majority, the court’s 17-judge panel voted in favor of six emergency measures, ordering Israel to “take all measures within its power” to prevent acts which could fall foul of the 1948 Genocide Convention, and to ensure its military does not commit genocidal acts in Gaza.

It also ordered Israel to “prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide,” and to guarantee the “provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance” in the enclave.

Israel was also ordered to preserve evidence related to allegations of genocide and report back to the court on its compliance with these measures in a month.

Protesters hold a Palestinian flag as they gather outside the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as judges rule on emergency measures against Israel following accusations by South Africa that the Israeli military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide, in The Hague, Netherlands, January 26, 2024. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw