UN Rights Chief Warns Israeli Assault on Rafah Would Violate International Court Orders

Thu Feb 29 2024
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GENEVA: The United Nations human rights chief, Volker Turk, on Thursday warned that any planned ground assault on Rafah in the Gaza Strip would defy orders issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). “I fail to see how such an operation could be consistent with the binding provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice,” Volker Turk told the UN Human Rights Council.

Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, Turk expressed grave concerns about the potential ramifications of such a military operation.

International Court of Justice Warns Israel

The ICJ, located in The Hague, refrained from mandating an immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza but emphasized that Israel must undertake all necessary measures to prevent acts falling within the scope of the Genocide Convention. Additionally, the court underscored Israel’s obligation to facilitate the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Palestinian territory.

Turk condemned the prospect of an Israeli ground assault on Rafah, emphasizing that it would exacerbate the already dire situation faced by Gaza’s populace. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously announced intentions for a ground invasion of Rafah, where approximately 1.4 million Palestinian civilians have sought refuge amidst the ongoing conflict.

The escalation in hostilities has exacted a devastating toll in Gaza, with the Palestinian health ministry reporting over 30,000 casualties, mostly women and children. Moreover, aid agencies have issued warnings regarding the looming specter of famine in Gaza’s densely populated northern regions.

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