South Africa

ICJ to deliver order Friday on South Africa Gaza ceasefire bid

Gaza aid workers 1

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will deliver its order on South Africa’s latest request for a ceasefire in Gaza on Friday.

A public sitting is set for 3 pm at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which Judge Nawaf Salam, President of the Court, will read the Court’s Order.

South Africa last week delivered its arguments before the ICJ in a fresh application as part of its genocide case against Israel.

Genocide

Pretoria argued that Israel’s latest military’s full-scale assault on the southern city of Rafah, where about 1.5 million Palestinians have sought refuge, is the “last step in the destruction of all Gaza” and that the court must order Israel to halt its military activity in Gaza and to withdraw its forces entirely.

Israel told the ICJ it rejected South Africa’s attempt to stop the assault on Rafah in Gaza, arguing that it has a “clear ulterior motive” in pushing its genocide case.

Judges at the ICJ have previously issued provisional measures, ordering Israel to take actions to limit humanitarian suffering in Gaza.

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ICJ sides with SA

In March, the ICJ agreed with South Africa’s assertion that the situation in Gaza had deteriorated significantly since the initial order on 26 January, which Israel has failed to comply with.

The UN’s top court granted South Africa’s urgent request to enforce additional emergency measures against Israel, accusing it of violating existing measures and causing irreparable harm to the rights invoked by Pretoria under the 1948 Genocide Convention in respect of the ongoing siege of Gaza.

In its application, South Africa warned that Palestinians in Gaza are in dire straits and that it was  “compelled to return to the Court in light of the new facts and changes in the situation in Gaza — particularly the situation of widespread starvation.”

The World Court said because Israel failed to comply with its initial order in January, the Court needed to indicate further provisional measures.

Warrants of arrest

A ruling on Friday against Israel would increase the international legal pressure after the International Criminal Court’s (ICC)  top prosecutor said Monday he was seeking arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas leaders.

ICC prosecutor Karim Kahn on Monday said he was seeking the warrants for crimes including “starvation”, “wilful killing”, and “extermination and/or murder

“We submit that the crimes against humanity charged were committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population pursuant to State policy. These crimes, in our assessment, continue to this day,” said Khan about Netanyahu and Gallant.

The charges laid against the Hamas leaders include “extermination”, “rape and other acts of sexual violence”, and “taking hostages as a war crime”.

The South African government welcomed an announcement by the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor for the arrest warrants.

Death toll

Israeli troops began their ground assault on parts of Rafah early this month, defying international opposition including from top ally the United States.

The death toll in Gaza has soared to more than 35 709 people, most of them women and children. 80,000 have been injured according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The Israeli onslaught has left Gaza in ruins, with the enclave’s infrastructure damaged or destroyed and nearly 2 million residents displaced amid shortages of food, potable water, and medicines.

Authorities claim the attacks by Hamas have killed about 1,200 Israelis.

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