International

ICJ Orders Israel To 'Immediately' Halt Rafah Offensive In Gaza | Check Full Court Ruling

While the powers of International Court of Justice (ICJ) are limited, as it does not have a police force to enforce its orders, the ruling against Israel would add to its political isolation, which has grown in recent weeks.

AP
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) | Photo: AP
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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip. The ICJ's ruling was made in response to an emergency request by South Africa, which argued that Israel's actions in Rafah were causing a humanitarian crisis and threatening the lives of thousands of Palestinians.

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“Israel must immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in Rafah which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” Judge Nawaf Salam, president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), said on Friday.

The court described the humanitarian situation in Rafah as "disastrous" and warned that it would only worsen if Israel continued its military operations.

The full text of ICJ order can be found here:

Israel launched a limited ground offensive in Rafah on May 7, despite international calls to exercise restraint. The move has drawn widespread condemnation, with the US among those urging Israel to avoid escalating the situation.

At least 35,800 Palestinians have been killed and 80,011 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since 7 October, according to Palestinian health officials. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza continues to worsen, with aid agencies warning of a catastrophic situation.

The Top world court's decision has been welcomed by Palestinian authorities. While the ICJ's powers are limited, as it does not have a police force to enforce its orders, the ruling against Israel would add to its political isolation, which has grown in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, a second top global court – the international criminal court – has identified three judges to hear a request for arrest warrants against Hamas leaders, Israel's Prime Minister, and its Defence Minister. However, Israel is not an ICC member, so even if the arrest warrants are issued, they do not face any immediate risk of prosecution. But the threat of arrest could make it difficult for the Israeli leaders to travel abroad.

About The International Court Of Justice (ICJ):

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), also called the World Court, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It adjudicates legal disputes submitted by member states and provides advisory opinions on legal questions referred by authorized UN organs and specialized agencies. 

The ICJ is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms by the UN General Assembly and Security Council. ICJ decisions are binding on parties to a case, but the court has no enforcement powers and depends on the Security Council to compel compliance. The ICJ is distinct from the International Criminal Court, which tries individuals accused of crimes such as genocide and war crimes.

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