Judge Joan Donoghue, the President of the court will read the Court’s Order at the Peace Palace in The Hague on Friday at 1pm (2pm SA time).

There are just hours left before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivers its much-anticipated judgment in South Africa’s request to order an immediate ceasefire to Israel’s attack on Gaza, which has claimed thousands of Palestinian lives.

Judge Joan Donoghue, the President of the Court, will read the Court’s Order at the Peace Palace in The Hague on Friday at 1pm (2pm SA time) in the presence of a South African delegation led by International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor.

The United Nations’ top court heard arguments two weeks ago from both South Africa and Israel regarding the dire situation in Gaza, which South Africa argued amounted to genocide.

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’ October 7 attack.

Global relations

The judgment by the ICJ, regardless of the outcome, is expected to put South Africa in the spotlight and unsettle global relations, especially with the United States and the United Kingdom.

However, South Africa has garnered support from numerous countries, and notable figures such as Game of Thrones stars Charles Dance, Carice van Houten, Liam Cunningham, and Lena Headey have contributed to a series of videos endorsing the historic case against Israel’s alleged genocide in Gaza.

Fifteen permanent judges and two adhoc judges, nominated from South Africa and Israel, have deliberated on the matter for the past two weeks.

SA will win

Earlier this month, international law expert Francis Boyle, who has argued successfully at the ICJ, said he believed South Africa will win an order against Israel for genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

“Based on my careful review of all the documents so far submitted by the Republic of South Africa, I believe South Africa will win an order against Israel to cease and desist from committing all acts of genocide against the Palestinians.

“Then we will have an official determination by the International Court of Justice itself, the highest legal authority in the United Nations system, that genocide is going on and under Article 1 of the Genocide Convention. All contracting parties of the 153 states will then be obliged to “prevent” the genocide by Israel against the Palestinians,” Boyle said.

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘South Africa will win an order against Israel’ for genocide in Gaza – Expert

US ‘complicit’

Boyle added the “cease and desist” order by ICJ will also hold US President Joe Biden’s administration responsible.

“When the World Court gives the cease-and-desist order, against Israel, the Biden administration will stand condemned under Article Three, Paragraph Three, of the Genocide Convention that criminalises complicity in genocide.

“Clearly we know that the Biden administration has been aiding and abetting Israeli genocide against the Palestinians here for quite some time,” said Boyle.

South Africa’s arguments

During its oral arguments, South Africa’s top legal minds asked the World Court to issue several orders, including for Israel to “immediately suspend” its Gaza offensive; to stop forced displacement, to enable humanitarian access to thousands of displaced Palestinians, and to preserve evidence.

South African advocate Adila Hassim said the ICJ doesn’t need to come to a final view on genocide but must find there have been breaches of some of the Genocide Convention.

“Nothing will stop the suffering except an order from this court.”

Hassim told the ICJ South Africa’s case underscores the “very essence of our shared humanity.”

Advocate Tembeka argued that “Israel’s attack on Gaza goes beyond the fight against Hamas,” and the most challenging element of a genocide charge against Israel is proving the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a specific people.

“You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember.”

Ngcukaitobi said these comments show genocidal intent.

“We remind the court of the authority and identity of the genocidal inciters: the prime minister, the president, the minister of defence, the minister of national security, the minister of energy and infrastructure, members of the Knesset [Israeli Parliament], senior army officials, and foot soldiers.”

Professor Vaughan Lowe said no provocation in Gaza justified genocide.

“Nothing can ever justify genocide.

“No matter what some individuals within the group of Palestinians in Gaza may have done, and no matter how great the threat to Israeli cities may be, genocidal attacks on the whole of Gaza and the whole of its population with the intent of destroying them cannot be justified.”

He said the case was not against Jewish people or the Israeli people, but against the Israeli government.

AlSO READ: Watch: SA’s arguments and requests against Israel at the International Court of Justice

Israel’s arguments

During Israel’s argument before The Hague, its legal team labelled South Africa’s claims as “baseless”, saying that it has been unfairly accused of atrocities in Gaza by Hamas.

Galit Raguan, Director of the International Justice Division in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General for International Law in the Ministry of Justice of the State of Israel, claimed South Africa had tailored “its story to a pre-existing narrative.”

She said the charge of genocide was “frankly untenable,” given the efforts by Israel for humanitarian assistance.

“The allegation of intent to commit genocide is baseless. If Israel had such intent, would it delay a ground manoeuvre for weeks, urging civilians to seek safer space, and in doing so sacrifice operational advantage?”

Dr Christopher Staker questioned South Africa’s claim to the right to ensure the Genocide Convention was not violated.

Staker said the suspension of military operations would give Hamas space to increase their capabilities and pose a greater threat, prejudicing Israel and “encouraging the commission of further terrorist attacks.”

“If granted, the result would be an organisation recognised internationally as terrorist has committed a terrorist atrocity in a territory of a state, and a third state now seeks an order from this court that would prevent the state from responding but would impose no obligation on those responsible for the attack.”

Staker argued that the provisional measures that South Africa was seeking were aimed at shutting down the Israeli military operation in Gaza, saying this failed to meet the legal requirement that the rights of both parties be protected.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Israel claims SA tailored Gaza genocide story to pre-existing narrative

Tension builds ahead of ICJ’s judgment in SA’s bid for Gaza ceasefire


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