26 Jan 2024 4:06 PM GMT
Justice Dalveer Bhandari, the Indian Judge at the International Court of Justice, has voted in favour of issuing provisional measures against Israel to prevent genocide against Palestinian people living in the Gaza strip. The order was issued in an application filed by South Africa seeking emergent directions to Israel to act as per its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention...
Justice Dalveer Bhandari, the Indian Judge at the International Court of Justice, has voted in favour of issuing provisional measures against Israel to prevent genocide against Palestinian people living in the Gaza strip. The order was issued in an application filed by South Africa seeking emergent directions to Israel to act as per its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Justice Bhandari, while voting in favour of the directions to Israel, also issued a separate declaration in support of his decision.
At the outset, Justice Bhandari condemned the attack carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians on October 7, 2023.
"First, by way of background, the attacks on civilians in Israel on 7 October 2023 were acts of brutality that must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It is estimated that 1,200 Israelis lost their lives and 5,500 were wounded and maimed in those attacks."
He also pointed out that the military operations by Israel in Gaza as a response to the Hamas attack have resulted in mass loss of lives, turning the situation in Gaza to be a "human catastrophe".
"To date, however, more than 25,000 civilians in Gaza have reportedly lost their lives as a result of Israel's military campaign in response to those attacks, many of them women and children. Several thousands are reportedly still missing. Tens of thousands of others have reportedly been injured. Dwellings, businesses and places of worship have been destroyed. It is also reported by United Nations agencies that 26 hospitals and over 200 schools have been damaged. Approximately 85 per cent of Gaza's population has been displaced as a result of the conflict. The situation in Gaza has turned into a humanitarian catastrophe."
Justice Bhandari explained that provisional measures are issued on the basis of a test of plausibility and that the order cannot be construed as a final declaration of guilt.
In this regard, the widespread destruction in Gaza and loss of life that the population of Gaza has thus far endured must be taken into account.
"...the Court is not at this point deciding whether, in fact, such intent existed or exists. All it is deciding is whether rights under the Genocide Convention are plausible. Here, the widespread nature of the military campaign in Gaza, as well as the loss of life, injury, destruction and humanitarian needs following from it — much of which is a matter of public record and has been ongoing since October 2023 — are by themselves capable of supporting a plausibility finding with respect to rights under Article II."
"Taken together and, bearing in mind the lower standards that apply in respect of provisional measures as opposed to the merits, the evidence on the record at this stage in the proceedings is such that, in the circumstances of this case, the Court was justified in granting provisional measures in the terms it did," Justice Bhandari said.
At the end, Justice Bhandari appealed to end all hostilities and unconditional release of all hostages captured on October 7, 2023.
"Going further, though, all participants in the conflict must ensure that all fighting and hostilities come to an immediate halt and that remaining hostages captured on 7 October 2023 are unconditionally released forthwith,"
Justice Bhandari was first appointed as a Judge of the ICJ in 2012 and was re-elected in 2017.
The Court issued the following provisional measures :
1. By 15 : 2 votes, the Court directed that Israel shall, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in relation to the Palestinians in Gaza, shall take all measures within its powers to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article 2 of the Convention, in particular (a) killing members of the group (b) causing bodily or mental harm to the members of the group (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring the destruction of the group in whole or in part (d) imposing measures to prevent births within the group.
2. By 15: 2 votes, the State of Israel shall ensure with immediate effect that its military does not commit any acts described above.
3. By 16:1 votes, the State of Israel shall take all measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to the members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.
4. By 16:1 votes, the State of Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to ensure the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza strip.
5. By 15:2 votes, the State of Israel shall take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to the allegations of acts within the scope of Articles 2 and 3 of the Genocide Convention.
6.By 15:2 votes, the State of Israel shall submit a report to the Court on all measures taken to give effect to this order within one month.
Click here to read Justice Bhandari's declaration