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South Africa asks World Court for more measures against Israel

FILE PHOTO: World Court rules on Gaza emergency measures in Israel genocide case, in The Hague

THE HAGUE (Reuters) -South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order additional emergency measures against Israel, which it says is breaching the measures already in place, the U.N.'s top court said on Wednesday.

In its application South Africa warned that Palestinians in Gaza were facing starvation and asked the court to order that all parties cease hostilities and release all hostages and detainees.

In a statement issued Wednesday the South African presidency warned that the people of Gaza cannot wait.

"The threat of all-out famine has now materialised. The court needs to act now to stop the imminent tragedy by immediately and effectively ensuring that the rights it has found are threatened under the Genocide Convention are protected," it added.

South Africa also asked the court to order that Israel take "immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address famine and starvation" in Gaza.

It added that the ICJ, also known as the World Court, should take these measures without scheduling a new round of hearings because of the "extreme urgency of the situation".

In January the World Court, as the ICJ is also known, ordered Israel to refrain from any acts that could fall under the Genocide Convention and to ensure its troops commit no genocidal acts against Palestinians, after South Africa accused Israel of state-led genocide in Gaza.

Israel and its Western allies described the allegation as baseless. A final ruling in the ICJ case in The Hague could take years.

The war in Gaza was triggered by an Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack on southern Israeli communities that Israel says left 1,200 killed and 253 taken hostage.

In the five months since, Palestinian authorities say Israel has killed over 30,000 people in blockaded Gaza, displaced most of its 2.3 million people, caused widespread hunger and disease, and laid waste to much of the territory.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg and Bart Meijer, additional reporting by Bhargav Acharyain Johannesburg, Editing by William Maclean and Diane Craft)