Last week, Israel and South Africa made their cases in public hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the genocide hearing.
South Africa has accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza, and Israel has refuted the allegations.
Now that the public hearings are over, what can we expect next?
In its filing to the ICJ, South Africa submitted to the court several provisional measures. Provisional measures are orders to be placed upon Israel to take, and these take priority over all other cases. In some of these cases, a decision can be relatively quick - up to a matter of weeks.
The provisional measures South Africa has requested include having Israel "immediately suspend" its Gaza offensive, stop forced displacement of Palestinians in the territory and enable humanitarian access, and preserve evidence.
The decisions of the ICJ are binding upon countries, and cannot be appealed. However, it is worth noting that the ICJ has no way of enforcing its rulings and they are sometimes completely ignored.
Former diplomat, Dr Kingsley Makhubela, explained to IOL that the findings of the court have no legal force, therefore, the ruling cannot be implemented.
“The ruling can’t be forced on anyone. It is advisory. Israel could ignore it or disregard it and carry on with its activities, there is no recourse for that.”
The ICJ can order all of the provisional measures requested by South Africa, it could decline to order anything and it could order something completely different. It can even decide it is not competent to judge.
After the court decides whether or not to apply emergency measures, it will then look at the broader case "on the merits" which is South Africa's charge that Israel is in breach of the UN Genocide Convention.
However, unlike the above, the ruling of the broader case "on the merits" can take up to several years.
This echoes what Makhubela has said: “This presentation before the court is on substantive matter on whether there is genocide going on in Palestine. That would take years for the ICJ to investigate an establish with some level of certainty on whether there is genocide going on on or not.”
Last month, South Africa launched a case at the International ICJ against Israel for what it said were "genocidal" acts in Gaza.
According to a statement, the ICJ application relates to alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Genocide Convention. It said that "Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza".
As the world observes its 100th day of Israel’s war on Gaza, more than 23,700 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its war on 7 October, in retaliation to a large-scale attack by Hamas into Israeli territory. According to Israeli officials, 1,200 died in the attack by Hamas.
The filing has been backed by several countries, including Brazil, Jordan, Türkiye, Bolivia, and Venezuela.