Smoke rises from the rubble of buildings that have been destroyed in military airstrikes

Canada ‘must not sit quietly on the sidelines’ after ICJ genocide ruling on Gaza

In response to the International Court of Justice’s provisional ruling Friday in the case concerning the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel), Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English-speaking section, said: 

“The court’s initial findings are clear: the incalculable destruction and suffering Israel has inflicted upon the Palestinian people of Gaza must be investigated as potential acts of genocide. Now, the international community must act urgently to prevent further civilian deaths and human rights abuses outlined in the Genocide Convention. For Canada, that means urging Israel to, without delay, adopt the six provisional measures outlined in the ICJ’s 26 January 2024 ruling; heeding the calls of 16 global human rights organizations to halt arms sales to Israel and Palestinian armed groups; and amplifying its call for a ceasefire by all parties in Gaza. Canada has both a moral and legal obligation to do everything in its power to prevent genocide. We must not sit quietly on the sidelines while the rest of the world cries for justice.”

‘Canada has both a moral and legal obligation to do everything in its power to prevent genocide. We must not sit quietly on the sidelines while the rest of the world cries for justice.’

Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada


The ruling issued by the ICJ ordered six provisional measures including for Israel to refrain from acts under the Genocide Convention, prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to genocide, and take immediate and effective measures to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza. Crucially, the Court also ordered Israel to preserve evidence of genocide in Gaza and to submit a report to the ICJ, within one month, of all measures taken in line with its order.

Amnesty International has not made a determination that the situation in Gaza amounts to genocide. However, the human rights advocate has warned of the risk of genocide in Gaza due to the shockingly high death toll among Palestinians, the widespread destruction caused by Israel’s relentless bombardment and the deliberate denial of humanitarian aid as part of the ongoing illegal blockade which are all inflicting horrifying levels of suffering on Gaza’s civilian population. Other warning signs include the increase in racist and dehumanizing rhetoric by some Israeli government officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israel’s history of oppressing and discriminating against Palestinians under its system of apartheid. In the face of a serious risk of genocide, all states are under an obligation under international law to act to prevent the commission of genocide.

More than 26,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israel’s unrelenting bombardment of Gaza with some 10,000 believed to be still missing under the rubble. At least 1.8 million Palestinians have been internally displaced and are deprived of access to adequate food, water, shelter, sanitation, and medical assistance. 

Amnesty International calls on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups to immediately suspend all military operations in Gaza. Israel must lift its illegal and inhuman siege and allow the unhindered and unconditional flow of desperately needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians, who are suffering from a deliberately engineered famine. We urge Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups to release all remaining civilian hostages.

Header photo credit: Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu via Getty Images