SA approaches ICJ

South Africa has approached the International Court of Justice, under the Genocide Convention, with respect to acts committed by Israel in the context of its attacks on Gaza. In a statement, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said South Africa was 'gravely concerned with the plight of civilians caught in the present Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip due to the indiscriminate use of force and forcible removal of inhabitants'. It said that as a State Party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, South Africa is under a treaty obligation to prevent genocide from occurring. 'Therefore, at a special meeting held on 8 December 2023, Cabinet directed that the International Court of Justice in The Hague be approached to obtain an order directing Israel, which is also a State Party, to refrain from any acts that may constitute genocide or related crimes under the Convention. 'An application in this regard was filed before the Court on 29 December 2023 in which the Court is requested to declare on an urgent basis that Israel is in breach of its obligations in terms of the Genocide Convention, should immediately cease all acts and measures in breach of those obligations and take a number of related actions,' said DIRCO. It added that there are ongoing reports of international crimes, such as crimes against humanity and war crimes being committed, as well as reports that acts meeting the threshold of genocide or related crimes, as defined in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, have been and may still be committed in the context of the ongoing massacres in Gaza. 'South Africa has repeatedly stated that it condemns all violence and attacks against all civilians, including Israelis. Moreover, South Africa has continuously called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the resumption of talks that will end the violence arising from the continued belligerent occupation of Palestine.' - Source: South African Government News Agency