South Africa asks World Court to order Israel's withdrawal from Rafah

África do Sul pede ao Tribunal Mundial que ordene a retirada de Israel de Rafah

South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order Israel to withdraw from Rafah as part of additional emergency measures due to the war, the UN's top court said on Friday.

In the ongoing case brought by South Africa, which accuses Israel of acts of genocide against the Palestinians, the World Court ordered

in January for Israel to refrain from any acts that could be covered by the Genocide Convention and to ensure that its troops do not commit genocidal acts against the Palestinians.

Israel did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Earlier, the country stated that it is acting in accordance with international law in Gaza, and dismissed the genocide case in South Africa as unfounded and accused Pretoria of acting as "the legal arm of Hamas".

Meanwhile, in documents published on Friday, South Africa is seeking additional emergency measures in light of the ongoing military action in Rafah, which it calls the "last refuge" for Palestinians in Gaza.

South Africa asked the court to order Israel to cease the Rafah offensive and to allow unimpeded access to Gaza for UN officials, humanitarian aid organizations and journalists and researchers.

According to South Africa, Israel's military operation is killing the Palestinians of Gaza and at the same time starving them by preventing humanitarian aid from entering.

"Those who have survived so far now face imminent death and a court order is needed to ensure their survival," the South African document states.

The war has killed almost 35,000 people in Hamas-controlled Gaza, according to local health authorities. Some 1,200 people were killed in Israel and 253 taken hostage on October 7, when Hamas launched the attack that started the war, according to Israeli records.

The ICJ, also known as the World Court, usually decides within a few weeks on requests for emergency measures. It will probably take years before the court decides on the merits of the case. Although the ICJ's decisions are binding and without appeal, the court has no way of enforcing them. (Reuters)

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