SA makes urgent request to International Court of Justice on Rafah offensive

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

The South African Government has urgently appealed to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to assess Israel's recent declaration to expand its military presence in Rafah, which is the last refuge for surviving people in Gaza.

Government is urging the ICJ to determine if it should intervene to prevent any imminent violation of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza.

“The South African Government has made an urgent request to the International Court of Justice to consider whether the decision announced by Israel to extend its military operations in Rafah, which is the last refuge for surviving people in Gaza, requires that the court uses its power to prevent further imminent breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza," the Presidency said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The Presidency said that under Article 75(1) of the Rules of Court, "The Court may at any time decide to examine proprio motu whether the circumstances of the case require the indication of provisional measures, which ought to be taken or complied with by any or all of the parties".

“In a request submitted to the court yesterday (12 February 2024), the South African Government 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 large scale killing, harm and destruction. This would be in serious and irreparable breach both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court's Order of 26 January 2024.
“South Africa trusts this matter will receive the necessary urgency in light of the daily death toll in Gaza,” the Presidency said. 

Last month, the United Nations (UN) top court ordered Israel to, among others, take all measures within its power “to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide” and to immediately ensure that Palestinians have access to basic services and humanitarian assistance.

In a landmark judgment, the ICJ determined that it was “plausible” that Israel has committed acts that violate the Genocide Convention. -