The ICJ panel of judges ruled that Israel should take steps to “prevent and punish” incitement to genocide in Gaza

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor has warned it is difficult to imagine how Israel will implement the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) order without a ceasefire in Gaza.

In a hearing in The Hague on Friday, the 17-strong panel of judges ruled that Israel should take steps to “prevent and punish” incitement to genocide, as well as to ensure the provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza.

Watch International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor speaking about the ICJ ruling

Release hostages

Moments after the historic ICJ ruling in The Hague, Pandor called for the release of the Israeli hostages saying, while she hoped for a ceasefire in Gaza, South Africa is satisfied with the courts directive.

“The saving of life is not merely with respect to having a ceasefire. It is to ensure humanitarian aid is provided to those who need it, as well as ensuring the state of Israel provides the necessary basic services that residents of Gaza and the West Bank require.

“South Africa had the view that we could not stand idly by and continue to observe the killing of thousands of Palestinian citizens who had no role in the killings by Hamas,” Pandor said.

She added should Israel ignore the ruling, “we are, essentially, opening room for all abusers in many conflicts around the world. It will be setting a terrible precedent.”

ALSO READ: ICJ sides with SA, tells Israel to prevent genocide in Gaza

Israel’s friends

Meanwhile the Democratic Alliance (DA) has appealed to the ICJ move to swiftly in determining whether or not the substantive arguments brought by South Africa in respect to the accusation of genocide has merit in international law.

“As a party anchored in the rule of law, the DA welcomes the ICJ’s swift pronouncement on provisional relief measures. We mourn the loss of innocent life that has been brought about by this terrible conflict,” the party member of parliament Emma Powel said.

The Good Party called on what it terms “Israel’s powerful friends in the global north” to pressure Israel to take responsibility for enforcing the interim measures by the ICJ to reduce the suffering in Palestine.

“If these friends, led by the United States – which has used its veto power at the United Nations to block resolutions calling for a ceasefire – don’t pressurise Israel to comply with the ruling of the United Nations’ court, they will place themselves in the same immoral league as Russia, which ignored the court’s ruling in respect of its war on Ukraine.”

ICJ ruling

In its judgment on Friday, the ICJ ordered Israel to take “all measures within its power” to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza.

“The State of Israel shall, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article Il of this Convention.

“In particular killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, Justice Joan Donoghue, the court’s president,” said.

The ICJ effectively ordered Israel to halt military operations.

“The state of Israel shall ensure with immediately effect that its military does not commit any acts described in point 1. The State of Israel shall take all measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza strip it,” Justice Donoghue said.

The court  ruled that Israel must report to the court within a month on what it is doing to uphold the order to take all measures within its power to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza. Donoghue said the ruling creates international legal obligations for Israel.

Gaza death toll

The Gaza Health Ministry reported that at least 25 700 people, mostly women and children, have been killed, and more than 63 740 injured in the enclave since Israel’s attack. Israel estimates that about 1 200 people were killed in Hamas’ attack on 7 October.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa says ICJ decision important to secure justice for Gaza


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *