Top UN court says to rule Friday on South Africa Gaza ceasefire bid

Top UN court to rule on Friday in South Africa Gaza ceasefire bid

The UN's top court said it will rule Friday on a request by South Africa to order Israel to implement a ceasefire in Gaza.


South Africa has petitioned the International Court of Justice for emergency measures to order Israel to "cease its military operations in the Gaza Strip" including in Rafah city, where it is pressing an offensive.

The rulings of the ICJ, which rules on disputes between states, are binding but it has no power to enforce them -- it has ordered Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine to no avail, for example.

But a ruling against Israel would increase the international legal pressure after the International Criminal Court's top prosecutor said Monday he was seeking arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas leaders.

In hearings last week, South Africa charged that what it described as Israel's "genocide" in Gaza had hit a "new and horrific stage" with its assault on Rafah, the last part of Gaza to face a ground invasion.

The Rafah campaign is "the last step in the destruction of Gaza and its Palestinian people", argued Vaughan Lowe, a lawyer for South Africa.

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