Israel must take measures to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza and permit aid: ICJ.

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: International Relations (I)

Topic: International institutions, agencies and fora

Issue: Israel-Palestine


  • South Africa approached ICJ after the indiscriminate attacks on Gaza by Israel alleging a violation of Genocide Convention of 1948.
  • ICJ said that Israel must prevent genocidal acts in Gaza and facilitate “urgently needed” humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention), signed in 1948,  is an international treaty that criminalizes genocide and obligates state parties to pursue the enforcement of its prohibition.

The Convention defined genocide as any of five “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”.

International Court of Justice:

●     Established in 1945, ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN)

●     HQ: The Hague, Netherlands

●     Composition: 15 judges elected for nine-year terms by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.

●     Functions:

○     Settles legal disputes between states

○     Gives advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorised UN organs and specialised agencies.

●     The decisions of the court are legally binding.

●     Enforcement: Although legally binding, the court has no mechanism to enforce its decisions and hence sometimes the rulings goes completely ignored

○     Example: The court has ordered Russia to stop its invasion of Ukraine which clearly was ignored.



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