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CDU EXPERT: The ICJ’s order rebuts denials and is binding with its “Israel must”

Charles Darwin university 2 mins read

Hard facts, semantically clear landmark verdict

31 JANUARY, 2024

Who: Charles Darwin University forensic linguistics expert Dr Awni Etaywe is a lecturer in linguistics and a forensic linguistics researcher focusing on terrorism, incitement to hatred, radicalisation and genocide, and digital deviance. He is a former United Nations Expert on Mission and Observer of human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with training on the law of armed conflict and the protection of civilians and children.


  • Israel’s response to South Africa’s case and the International Court of Justice's order.
  • The International Court of Justice rebuts Israel’s denials and claims, and decides it is a plausible case of genocide.
  • The UCJ’s order is legally binding, and the Court sees that “Israel must” conform.
  • Predictably, language is a main part of evidence to decode a genocidal intent and determine a plausible case of genocide.
  • Violence in Gaza is a form of “genocidal moments” and placed within a broader settler-colonial context.

 Dr Etaywe is available to contribute extensive analysis and commentary on this subject.

Contact details: Call +61 8 8946 6721 or email to arrange an interview.

Quotes attributable to Dr Awni Etaywe:

“The Court issued its binding evidence-based order, using the 'Israel must' phrase where Israel not only 'must' 'take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations…' but also 'must submit a report to the Court on all measures taken to give effect to this Order within one month, as from the date of this Order. The report so provided shall then be communicated to South Africa, which shall be given the opportunity to submit to the Court its comments thereon.'"

“The Court enacts tenor through high modality – 'must' – a linguistic means through which the Court expresses the highest level of intensity of obligation.”

“What are these must-take measures? The Court considers that:

  • “Israel must […] take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of […]: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.
  • “…Israel must ensure with immediate effect that its military forces do not commit any of the above-described acts.”
  • “…Israel must take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

“As predicted, speech function and dehumanising language was under the microscope of the Court to establish evidence of encoded genocidal intent.

"Judge Nolte adds that '…certain statements by Israeli State officials, including members of its military, give rise to a real and imminent risk of irreparable prejudice to the rights of Palestinians under the Genocide Convention.' In response to this genocidal language, the Court orders Israel to do the following:

  • “…Israel must take all measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.”

“Netanyahu politically (again, not legally) labelled the ‘crime of crimes’ charge as 'outrageous', while Yoav Gallant countered by characterising South Africa’s case as 'antisemitic'."

"In the face of political dynamics and the framework of international law, nations worldwide are confronted with a critical choice.”

Contact details:

Raphaella Saroukos she/her
Communications Officer
Marketing, Media & Communications
Larrakia Country
T: +61 8 8946 6721

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