STORY: :: Enforcement of a World Court ruling ordering Israel to

halt its assault on Rafah could be hard to enforce, analysts say

:: May 24, 2024

:: Heidi Matthews, Assistant law professor, York University

"The court itself doesn't have any enforcement powers, so it's the highest judicial body of the United Nations, but it doesn't have, you know, its own police or military force that would perform that kind of enforcement. What it does have pursuant to the U.N. charter is resort to the security Council." // "And so that's the option. Clearly, the big problem with that is the U.S. veto on the Security Council."

:: Kenneth Roth, Former executive director of Human Rights Watch

"South Africa used genocide because that was its jurisdiction hook, that's how it could get before the International Court of Justice. And indeed, there is a very credible case of genocide. But the court will not resolve that case on the merits for some time to come. Today's ruling was just a preliminary ruling, which it has a very low threshold of proof. But we should not let the genocide debate deter us from focusing on the other serious war crimes and crimes against humanity that quite clearly are going on."

Reading out the ruling, World Court president Nawaf Salam said the situation in the Palestinian enclave had deteriorated since the court last ordered Israel to take steps to improve it, and conditions had been met for a new emergency order.

Israel launched its air and ground war on Gaza after Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israeli communities, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. More than 35,000 Palestinians have since been killed in the offensive, Gaza's health ministry says.

Under the U.N. charter the U.N. Security Council could compel enforcement of the ICJ ruling, Matthews said, but it would likely face opposition from the United States which frequently uses its veto power to support Israel.