SA welcomes ICJ injunction to protect civilians in Rafah

Sunday, February 18, 2024

South Africa has welcomed an injunction by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to protect civilians in Rafah, Gaza.

This comes after the South African Government urgently appealed to the ICJ to assess Israel's recent declaration to expand its military presence in Rafah, which is the last refuge for surviving people in Gaza.

“The court affirms our 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,” the Presidency said on Friday.

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.

The Presidency said the court has accepted that that Israel's planned incursions in Rafah would render what is already a humanitarian disaster even more perilous.

It also accepted that the situation requires compliance with the existing provisional measures and accepted that compliance with the existing provisional measures requires the protection of civilians in Gaza including Rafah.

“The court decision has noted the ‘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).

“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,” the Presidency said.

The Court states in terms: “The Court emphasises 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 Presidency said South Africa would continue to use existing channels such as the United Nations Security Council to ensure full and effective implementation of the existing provisional measures. –