International Court of Justice rules in SA’s favour

Henry

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has just ordered Israel to comply with certain measures that South Africa requested in its historic application before this court. The United Nations (UN) highest court therefore ruled in South Africa’s favour.

However, the court did not order a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

The measures that Israel must comply with in terms of the International Court of Justice require that this country take all steps to “prevent and punish” incitement to genocide.

The Israeli government was also ordered to allow access to humanitarian aid and basic services in Gaza.

Israel was also ordered to submit a report to the court on all measures taken to comply with this order.

Fikile Mbalula, secretary general of the ANC, described the ruling a short while ago as a “watershed”.

In December, South Africa sued Israel at the International Court of Justice, accusing this country of committing “acts of genocide” in Gaza, with the greater aim of finally wiping out the Palestinian population.

In the first part of South Africa’s application, the court was requested to declare on an urgent basis that Israel is in breach of its obligations in terms of the Genocide Convention, and to immediately cease all conflicting acts and measures that are contrary to those obligations.

The court was requested to indicate provisional measures in order to provide protection “against further, serious and irreparable damage to the rights of the Palestinian people under the Genocide Convention, which continue to be violated with impunity”.

These measures must also “ensure Israel’s compliance with its obligations under the Genocide Convention, which involves not engaging in genocide, and preventing and punishing genocide”.

South Africa further argued in court that the public statements of Israeli politicians show that genocide is being committed with intent.

Part of Israel’s defense in court was based on the fact that whatever statements politicians made in public were trumped by executive decisions and official orders from the war cabinet and the army command.

Israel further argued that it is the real victim of genocide – not the people of Gaza.

The country also maintains that it is not trying to destroy the Palestinian people whatsoever. Israel claimed that during the October 7 attacks, Hamas militants “tortured children in front of parents, parents in front of children, burned people … systematically raped and mutilated”.

Israel further emphasized that it acted in self-defense and that the response was not aimed at the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.

Friday’s ruling only applies to the first part of South Africa’s court application.

A ruling on the merits of the broader genocide charge could take years.

Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa will address the country on Friday at 16:00 about the court’s order. The speech will be broadcast live.

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