Statement by South Africa welcoming the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice against Israel

Press Release

26 January 2024

Statement by South Africa welcoming the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice against Israel

Today marks a decisive victory for the international rule of law and a significant milestone in the search for justice for the Palestinian people. In a landmark ruling, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has determined that Israel’s actions in Gaza are plausibly genocidal and has indicated provisional measures on that basis. For the implementation of the international rule of law, the decision is a momentous one. South Africa thanks the Court for its swift ruling.

The United Nations Security Council will now be formally notified of the Court’s order pursuant to Article 41(2) of the Court’s Statute. The veto power wielded by individual states cannot be permitted to thwart international justice, not least in light of the ever-worsening situation in Gaza brought about by Israel’s acts and omissions in violation of the Genocide Convention.

Third States are now on notice of the existence of a serious risk of genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza. They must, therefore, also act independently and immediately to prevent genocide by Israel and to ensure that they are not themselves in violation of the Genocide Convention, including by aiding or assisting in the commission of genocide. This necessarily imposes an obligation on all States to cease funding and facilitating Israel’s military actions, which are plausibly genocidal.

Above all else, the provisional measures are directly binding on Israel, which is required pursuant to the Court’s order and to the Genocide Convention itself, to stop all acts by it that are plausibly genocidal, such as those raised by South Africa in its Application and request for the indication of provisional measures. There is no credible basis for Israel to continue to claim that its military actions are in full compliance with international law, including the Genocide Convention, having regard to the Court’s ruling.

South Africa sincerely hopes that Israel will not act to frustrate the application of this Order, as it has publicly threatened to do, but that it will instead act to comply with it fully, as it is bound to do.

South Africa will continue to act within the institutions of global governance to protect the rights, including the fundamental right to life, of Palestinians in Gaza – which continue to remain at urgent risk including from Israeli military assault, starvation and disease – and to obtain the fair and equal application of international law to all, in the interest of our collective humanity. Notably, South Africa will continue to do everything within its power to preserve the existence of the Palestinian people as a group, to end all acts of apartheid and genocide against the Palestinian people and to walk with them towards the realisation of their collective right to self-determination, for, as Nelson Mandela momentously declared, “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.

The indication by this Court of provisional measures pursuant to the Genocide Convention marks a significant historical step towards that goal.

For more information: Clayson Monyela (Head of Public Diplomacy) +27828845974


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