The ICJ could not order a general ceasefire. It ordered Israel to cease fire

Jan 27, 2024
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the UN, deliver its Order on the Request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel), on 26 January 2024, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. Session held under the presidency of Judge Joan E. Donoghue, President of the Court. The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs and agencies. Its official languages are English and French

The responses by U.S. main stream media to the ICJ judgment on Israel are moronic.

Neither of these headlines is completely true nor do they reflect the court’s order:

No legal scholar expected the International Court of Justice to order a general ceasefire.

The court could not order a general ceasefire because its jurisdiction covers only one of the waring parties. An order for a general ceasefire would require that all parties of a conflict are nation states and have signed the Genocide Convention. Hamas however is not a state and is not a signatory of the Genocide Convention and thus not under the ICJ’s jurisdiction.

So the court did indeed not order a ceasefire.

It could not.

But the court ordered Israel to cease fire.

Point 85/86 of the court’s order says:

85. The Court deems it necessary to emphasize that all parties to the conflict in the Gaza Strip are bound by international humanitarian law. It is gravely concerned about the fate of the hostages abducted during the attack in Israel on 7 October 2023 and held since then by Hamas and other armed groups, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

86. For these reasons,


Indicates the following provisional measures:(1) By fifteen votes to two,

The State of Israel shall, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in relation to Palestinians in Gaza,take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of this Convention, in particular:

(a) killing members of the group;

(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

The court clearly orders Israel to take all(!) measure to prevent the killing or wounding of Palestinians.

In short: The court orders Israel to cease fire.

All of it. Now.

The mainstream media try to obfuscate that order with a reference to a general ceasefire which would have to include an order to all parties of the conflict.

That three of the leading media are using similar headlines and a similar obfuscation of the actual judgment points to a concerted propaganda campaign well prepared in advance of  today’s order.


Original article published by Moon of Alabama 26 January 2024

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