South Africa pleased with outcome of genocide case at top UN court: President

Ramaphosa says Israel should heed measures ordered by International Court of Justice so there is end to ongoing slaughter of Palestinians

South Africa’s president said Friday his country is pleased with the outcome of genocide case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and Israel should heed the measures ordered by the court so there is an end to the ongoing slaughter of Palestinians.

“We are very pleased and sad about the outcome of the case at ICJ. Sad because it just confirms that what the International Court of Justice had ruled before was not heeded by Israel and we needed to go back and argue another case, particularly with concern that there may be attacks on Rafah,” Ramaphosa told reporters.

He said the new orders of the top UN court need to be heeded by Israel. “We need to see the end of the slaughter that the people of Palestine are being subjected to.”

The top UN court on Thursday issued additional provisional measures on Israel, including “unhindered provision” of aid to Gaza, in the ongoing genocide case against Israel brought on South Africa’s request.

“The catastrophic living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have deteriorated further,” said the ICJ order, referring to the change in the situation since its interim ruling on Jan. 26.

South Africa filed a case at the ICJ in late 2023, accusing Israel of failing to uphold its commitments under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

In January, the court ordered Israel to take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip but stopped short of ordering a cease-fire which South Africa had requested.

On March 6, South Africa again approached the court requesting for additional provisional measures based on the change in the situation.

The ICJ indicated new measures since the provisional measures in the earlier order “do not fully address the consequences arising from the changes in the situation.”

Courageous initiative

Ramaphosa said what is pleasing is that more countries around the world are now seeing the correctness of the step South Africa took.

“Initially when we initiated the court case, people in some countries were saying it is baseless, nothing will come of it. Now more and more countries and leaders are saying South Africa has taken a huge courageous initiative that’s going to advance the interest of humanity.”

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack led by Hamas in which nearly 1,200 Israelis were killed.

More than 32,600 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, besides causing mass destruction, displacement, and conditions of famine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which asked Israel to do more to prevent famine in Gaza. It said: “Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine … but that famine is setting in.”


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