AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will rule on Friday whether or not they will grant emergency measures against Israel following accusations by South Africa that the Israeli military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide.
The United Nations’ top court issued a statement on Wednesday saying the 17-judge panel will hand down its ruling in court on Jan. 26 at 1200 GMT.
Earlier this month, in two days of hearings, South Africa asked the ICJ, also known as the World Court, to order an emergency suspension of Israel’s devastating military campaign in the Palestinian enclave.
Israel dismissed the genocide allegations as “grossly distorted” and said it had a right to defend itself and was targeting Hamas militants, not Palestinian civilians.
In the ruling on Friday, the ICJ will not deal with the main question if Israel is committing genocide.
The court will just look at possible emergency measures, meant as a kind of restraining order to prevent a dispute from getting worse while the court looks at the full case, which usually takes years.
If the ICJ does decide on issuing emergency measures it is not bound to order exactly what South Africa asked for.
Rulings by the court are legally binding and without appeal, but the court has no way to enforce them.
(Reporting by Bart Meijer and Stephanie van den Berg, editing by Alexandra Hudson)