South Africa calls ICJ ruling on Israel 'decisive victory for international rule of law'
Following Friday's ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, South Africa said it "welcomes the decisive victory for the international rule of law". "This is an important step in the quest for justice for the Palestinian people," it said.
"The Court has determined that Israel's actions in Gaza are plausibly genocidal, and on that basis, it has indicated provisional measures," a statement from the Foreign ministry reads, which also thanks the Court "for its swift decision".
The Israeli government has been instructed on several points to take measures to better protect Gazans. For example, it must prevent and punish calls for genocide against the people of Gaza.
"This is an important step in the quest for justice for the Palestinian people"
"Immediate and drastic measures" must also be taken to improve living conditions in Gaza, and evidence of possible wrongdoing must be collected. The court orders Israel to allow humanitarian aid. Israel must report within a month on steps taken to comply with the interim order. The ICJ also called for the immediate release of all Israeli hostages.
President of the ICJ Joan Donoghue said the court was concerned about the "human tragedy" in Gaza and the many deaths and suffering of people there. In her statement, she referred to Martin Griffiths, the UN emergency aid coordinator, who said that Gaza is in danger of becoming uninhabitable. Several UN officials have warned of the worrying situation in which Gazans find themselves, the court noted.
The court further said the situation in the Gaza Strip threatens to deteriorate further and that the civilian population remains particularly vulnerable, as houses, schools and other infrastructure have been destroyed. Donoghue also cited statements made by the Israeli army, an Israeli minister and Israeli president Isaac Herzog about the Palestinian people.
Received as a victory
The ICJ is also considering whether Israel has violated the Genocide Convention, a ruling that will take longer. The only question at this stage was whether emergency measures were necessary to prevent possible violations. The ruling was received as a victory by opponents of the war, who gathered at the Peace Palace in The Hague.
Leaders of the ruling African National Congress gathered at a congress near Johannesburg to celebrate the ruling.
South Africa filed a case with the ICJ in The Hague because it believes Israel is violating the Genocide Convention in its war against Hamas. According to South Africa, no violence justifies Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip.
© PHOTO REMKO DE WAAL / ANP / AFP