South Africa

Middle East Crisis

ICJ declines SA’s request for further orders but stresses Israel remains bound to protect Gaza civilians

ICJ declines SA’s request for further orders but stresses Israel remains bound to protect Gaza civilians
President Donoghue (2nd L) and other judges during a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, The Netherlands, on a request by South Africa for emergency measures for Gaza, 26 January 2024. EPA-EFE/Remko de Waal

The court said that Israel remains bound by the court’s orders of 26 January to ensure the safety and security of Palestinians in its current assault on Rafah.

The International Court of Justice has declined South Africa’s application for additional provisional measures to be taken by Israel to prevent additional harm to civilians during Israel’s assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

But in a decision announced on Friday, the court agreed that the most recent developments and the incoming Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, and in Rafah in particular, ‘would exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences’, as stated by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“This perilous situation demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the Court in its Order of 26 January 2024, which are applicable throughout the Gaza Strip, including in Rafah, and does not demand the indication of additional provisional measures,” the court said.

“The Court emphasizes that the State of Israel remains bound to fully comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention and with the said Order, including by ensuring the safety and security of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

The South African government had requested the court for additional provisional measures in a letter sent to the ICJ on 12 February.

It said these additional measures were necessary because of Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement on 9 February that Israel intended to evacuate the civilians of Rafah to allow the Israeli military to eliminate the four Hamas battalions remaining in the area. South Africa said this assault had begun on Sunday 11 February with “an intense, unprecedented Israeli military assault, with an ongoing threat of yet further intensification of the assault — including by way of an Israeli ground invasion”.

South Africa’s 12 February application to the ICJ noted that Rafah, normally home to 280,000 Palestinians, was currently housing more than half of Gaza’s population, estimated at approximately 1.4 million people, approximately half of them children.

“As the International Committee of the Red Cross has made clear, there is “no option” for the evacuation of the Palestinian population in Rafah as “there is nowhere else for the people to go” it said.

And so, it said, it was “gravely concerned that the unprecedented military offensive against Rafah, as announced by the State of Israel, has already led to and will result in further largescale killing, harm and destruction in serious and irreparable breach both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court’s Order of 26 January 2024”.

Israel opposed South Africa’s application in a letter to the court in which it stated that South Africa was trying to “re-litigate” the issue already decided upon by the ICJ in its decision of 26 January and so no further provisional measures were needed because the situation in Gaza had not changed since then. It noted that South Africa itself had cited in its application Netanyahu’s announcement that Israel intended evacuating civilians from Rafah before the assault and this showed its intention to protect civilians.

The South African government welcomed the ICJ’s decision and said the court had affirmed SA’s view “that the perilous situation demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the Court in its Order of 26 January 2024, which are applicable throughout the Gaza Strip, and has clarified that this includes Rafah”.

In a statement by President Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya, the government also  said it also noted that the court had said that “the most recent developments in the Gaza Strip, and in Rafah in particular, ‘would exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences’, as stated by the United Nations Secretary-General (Remarks to the General Assembly on priorities for 2024 (7 February 2024).”

It added that;

“The court has accepted:

  1. That Israel’s planned incursions in Rafah would render what is already a humanitarian disaster even more perilous.
  2. The situation requires compliance with the existing provisional measures.
  3. Compliance with the existing provisional measures requires the protection of civilians in Gaza including Rafah.

“The court has unequivocally explained that compliance with the existing provisional measures requires Israel to ensure the safety and security of all Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

“Any decision by Israel to engage in military activities against Palestinians in the current circumstances is a violation of the order of the International Court of Justice.”

“South Africa will continue to use existing channels such as the United Nations Security Council to ensure full and effective implementation of the existing provisional measures.”

Veteran ICJ litigator Francis Boyle, law professor at the University of Illinois, said:

“It’s not yes or no. This is a formal Decision by the Court. Apparently no dissents. Very helpful language. RSA asked for a formal Order for additional provisional measures of protection for the Palestinians. They didn’t get that. But they did get a formal Decision by the Court. It’s important that the ICJ references Rafah and quotes the UN Secretary General saying Israeli actions would “exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences” and referred to Rafah as a “perilous situation” for exponentially increased genocide.

“Given the proximity to the prior Order, this Decision may be the best South Africa could get. It can use this ICJ Decision at the Security Council to support the Resolution that Algeria has already circulated there in order to enforce the World Court’s Order of January 26 against Israel. If the Zionists start driving Palestinians into Egypt, South Africa can ask the Court again for new provisional measures of protection. Other nations can also sue Israel for genocide regarding Rafah in particular and Gaza in general, request an Emergency Hearing by the Court, and ask for provisional measures of protection specifically with respect to Rafah and the rest of the Palestinians in Gaza.

“The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation got Gambia to sue Myanmar at the ICJ for genocide and there’s no excuse for the ICO not moving to so protect Palestine and the Palestinians. Israel is threatening catastrophic genocide against the 1.5 Million Palestinians at Rafah. The Biden administration is saying they don’t want Israel to move into Rafah until certain conditions are met. Their plan may be to claim such conditions are met with these camps they are building in the Sinai Desert, effectively facilitating the ethnic cleansing of the Gazans into the Sinai and thus ushering in Nakba II for the Palestinians.”

The court had endorsed Guterres’s observation that Israel’s assault on Rafah “ would exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences.”

He said South Africa would be able to take the ICJ’s decision to the UN Security Council to seek action against Israel if it failed to comply with the 26 January orders and, if the US vetoed any action in the Security Council, South Africa would be able to use the ICJ decision to seek a resolution in the UN General Assembly. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

    If all our government departments work like minister Pandor’s ministry this country would be crime free and a long way out of poverty.
    By the ICJ noting the application and reiterating the January ruling a constant knock is being applied on the conscience of Israel and it’s military supporters.
    It will be difficult for America to ramp down the weapon factories and if they do there will be a negative review on South Africa’s relationship with America.
    A false flag was issued by the American ambassador without proof on the lady R issue, though he later apologized it was a warning.
    The review can be a foregone conclusion.
    South Africa carries memberships in all these international organizations and carries the same powers that Europe has when applying remedies recommend by those bodies.
    The rights to do so are not measured by the size of the economy of member countries.
    As far as the ICJ is concerned South Africa has reached a point of no return.
    It’s time for other state departments to start addressing the issues of concern in their ministries which are domestic in nature, to stop clouding these efforts being put forward to bring the Israel citizens and Palestinians to a life of peace.

    • Steve Du Plessis says:

      Actually South Africa sold our foreign policy to Iran. The ICJ court case is an embarrassment to our country. Yet again the people of South Africa will pay the price for Nolady Pandor and the ANCs moral bankruptcy and corruption

  • Errol Price says:

    The Court did nothing more than tell the parties that nothing more should or could be ordered.
    If this had been a civil domestic court it would have been thrown out with a punitive costs order. Francis Boyle is a long time legal representative of the P.L.O-hardly the most impartial of observers.
    The fact is that the South African legal team have been shockingly unprofessional in this matter acting as co-conspirators in an idealogical crusade and parading in public with insufferable grins of self-satisfaction at their marginal initial success.
    This team is emulating the legal ethics of Hlope and Mpofu. They have taken legal practice to a new low.

  • Eus de Clerk says:

    7,700 People murdered in 3 months in South Africa, and the terrorist ANC government is quite happy with it.

  • Mike Lawrie says:

    And did we push for the immediate release of the innocent hostages?

  • Harold Uberstein says:

    South Africa is waisting millions by going to the ICJ. While they are raping and killing their own people and the the children are sick and hunngry. Shame on them for choosing to support terrorism. The parliament is one big commody. It is not democratic at all. The anc are breaking each of the ten cimmandments. GOD SEES THEM ALL.

  • Andre Thomashausen says:

    Whilst the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation is still recovering from extended inspection visits to the SA embassies in Portugal and Germany, where they learnt that printers and Internet access continue to be “broken”, the DIRCO Minister and her DG have a free hand to tear up whatever remains of South Africa’s relations with its essential FDI partners.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    SA “welcomed the ICJ’s decision”
    Welcomed what? The decision to reject its application!

  • Mkulu Zulu says:

    Common sense prevailed.
    The Judges do not want what happened to the Turkish Parliamentarian to happen to them.

  • Steve Du Plessis says:

    I wonder if this application was included in the price that Iran paid the ANC or if this cost extra. The ANC should be demanding much more money to look like such fools in the international stage.

    • L T. says:

      I’m waiting for DM to do that deep dive on the money trail that took the ANC from being on the verge of bankruptcy to being flush with cash……

  • Charles Butcher says:

    This just goes to prove that the nazi controlled western hegemony are in charge of the ICJ and Nobody is going to harm the kingpin NAZIS

  • Lyle Pillay says:

    South africa is just following orders from their boss. Iran wants value for their money.

  • Paul Alberts says:

    Does Israel have a right defending itself ?

    • John P says:

      Yes it has a right to defend itself, does it have the right to kill thousands of children, destroy hospitals, mosques and entire residential areas?

      • Ben Harper says:

        In the course of protecting it’s sovereignty and it’s rights – yes, absolutely. Conveniently forgetting that hospitals, mosques, schools, residential areas lose their right to protection when used by armed forces again I see, cherry picking what can and can’t be done yet again

        • John P says:

          The assumption is that all these facilities have been used by Hamas? There is very little proof of this from any source other that the IDF. Cherry picking? As opposed to your blanket support of absolutely everything the Netanyahu government says and does?

  • Truth Hurts says:

    I wish the South African government was expending so much energy here at home trying to defend its people! As South Africans, Weare besieged with high crime rates! Assassinations! Taxi violence! Cash in transit robberies! Unemployment! Corruption!High taxes! Loadshedding! One can go on until the cows come home! The amount of money being used for these litigations could be better be funneled into resolving national crises.
    In Sudan, there’s an internal civil war there that has been raging for years, and because South African government has financial interests in the matter, no one is taken to the ICJ for genocide claims. Or is it because those that are dying are poor Africans and their deaths is acceptable? I will never know!

    Putin is committing the same acts RSA government is accusing the State of Israel of doing, because Putin is the friend of the Anc he is allowed to act without any condemnation from Ramaphosa!

    Is the government not supposed to have one principled decision on these matters instead of looking as to who is their friend or foe? I want to see Naledi Pandor being vocal about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as much as she does for Palestine.

    More so, I want our government to do the job we elected them into office for, to improve the lives of all South Africans!

    They must put South Africa first!

  • Rae Earl says:

    The ANC is ignoring the fact that Israel is using its full military power in exercising its right to protect its citizens from onslaughts by a terrorist group. Everything about this war is debatable as to the wrongs and rights of both parties and the ANC has now done enough in that arena and should rather pursue other global issues. Sending a delegation headed by court jester supreme Fikile Mbalula to be brain washed by Vladimir Putin on neo-colonialism is not one of them. Preventing genocide in Sudan would be a better bet. Only problem there, is that Iran is unlikely to give the ANC any financial support on such ventures.

  • Hidden Name says:

    Its like the ANC doesn’t learn. Going out of their way to further alienate all of our most important trade partners over something which is not our business, and getting yet another throw away outcome from the ICJ.

  • Sanu Singh says:

    If SA really cares about innocent lives lost, they would have appealed to Hamas to stop the violence & release all hostages promptly to save Palestinian lives. Both sides are responsible for saving innocent lives- or should be.

  • Really Honestly says:

    Damage done. Stop adding to your troubles SA. SA is now a phirriah nation. Well done all the useful legal clowns who aided in this project.

  • Yaakov Rashi says:

    ICJ is doing a good job of being diplomatic while turning down all of the ANC’s key demands (ceasefire, extra provisional measures). But while Israel won this round – it only got half of what it wanted in Jan (to have case thrown out; no ceasefire). Unlike Russia and Myanmar, Israel was allowed to continue prosecuting its war against Gaza. Technically, Israel was already complying with most of the provisional orders of the January verdict so in essence: nothing changed for them at all while SA pretended it won. And that little media spin just got another turn today. Bless the ANC for how it can paint its failures in the heroic adjectives of victory.. solid copywriting, chaps 😀

  • Yaakov Rashi says:

    Israel: 2
    South Africa: 0

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Boo-hoo Pandor! Throwing your toys out of the cot because you aren’t getting your way. Tell/remind your beloved bosom-buddies, Hamas, to release the hostages as that was very much the ruling as well. But of course you won’t, we expect nothing from one so false, wayward, devious, immoral and hypocritical – just like Cyril the spineless!

  • David Jacobson says:

    Eliminate Hamas, free the hostages dead or alive …… then Israel might give a rats arse about some anti Jewish, anti Israeli irrelevant court like the ICJ or the ICC …. Like Israel actually gives a hoot 😘

  • Trenton Carr says:

    Take the L already, and fix your own house.

  • Bam Bam says:

    Pandor: “ICJ please help us distract our own people from our failures and remind the world how awesome south Africa and I am.”

    ICJ: “Go away”

    Pandor: “Another victory!”

  • Colin Braude says:

    Community context:
    “Veteran ICJ litigator Francis Boyle, law professor at the University of Illinois, said…”
    From Wikipedia:
    • Boyle serves as counsel … to the Provisional Government of the Palestinian Authority
    • He served as an adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) between 1987–89 and 1991–93
    • Boyle is a long-standing critic of Israel, Zionism, and American foreign policy towards Israel. In 1986,
    • Boyle has since followed all lawsuits against Israelis internationally, and blames “Zionist control and domination of the American judiciary”
    • Boyle advocated the creation of a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in a speech on November 30, 2000,
    • According to Boyle, “the Jewish Bantustan (will) collapse of its own racist and genocidal weight over the next two decades if not much sooner. In the meantime, the Palestinians must stall and delay the so-called peace negotiations until then. Time is on their side
    • In May 2008, Boyle offered to “represent Iran in an international tribunal for trying Israel on charges of genocide of Palestinians”, and reportedly demanded that his proposal be submitted to Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    This is the sort of “journalism” we expect from Daily Maverick, but it’s sad to see a once authoritative foreign affairs journalist sink to this level.

    • L T. says:

      Thank you Colin Braude for exposing this expert for what he truly is. DM and Fabricius you are flying your colors to the mast by quoting this antisemite as if he was a person with any moral authority. Luckily your readers can distinguish between truth and columns.

    • Ben Harper says:

      John P’s hero apparently

      • John P says:

        I don’t even know of this man and certainly would not support him entirely. A typical trite comment without substance from you and well up to your regular standard.

  • Noel Soyizwaphi says:

    Truth must be told, what is happening in Palestine is wrong and must be condemned by all civilized peoples of the world. Israel had made its point and its military might is unchallenged in that region, especially with the mighty American in its corner. No self respecting person must rejoice in what is happening in Palestine. What is happening is barbaric, Israel os bent on cleaning out Palestine life for the Settlement of its own people with the hope to destroy the possibility of a two state existence. People that see good in what Israel is doing are racists because it is happening to those that are different to them. The unfortunate thing is that even if Hamas is wiped out, the two state idea will linger on and come back to haunt us again and again. People of the world, please stand up for better tomorrow

  • Geoff Coles says:

    I am wondering, what if those in Gaza were to ‘crash’ the border with Israel….what would Egypt do?

  • Zane Erasmus Erasmus says:

    And imagine if Hamas did everything to protect the Palestinians.

  • Steve Du Plessis says:


  • Benita Scheffers says:


  • dexter m says:

    The object of this application was not to Israel ,but to its supporting nations . It has worked if one reads the statements from France .Germany , UK , Austria and Czech last week . The US is being isolated in its support of Israel.

  • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

    Those who celebrates the ICJ denial to see a need for a new order must do so with caution.
    There is a session in the international court in the Hague.
    The court has found that Israel violated the occupied population since 1967 to date.
    And judge Pellet identifies that the current situation is a result of those innumerable violation.
    Israel has violated these occupied populations to insanity they then call the whole world to look at insane people.
    The response is inhumane brutal insanity by Israel that unfolds everyday.
    It’s not the ANC that must be worried, it is anyone who believes Israel has earned a right to defend it’s self and ignore the documented criminal acts of violation by Israel yet again revealed in an international court.
    I hope the DA is paying attention to judge Pellet’s findings and correcting their stance accordingly, unless they decide to blindly support Israel for other reasons than upholding international law.

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