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‘Without ceasefire the ICJ order doesn’t actually work’ South Africa on Israel genocide ruling 

Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation says she would have wanted the International Court of Justice to explicitly call for a ceasefire for its ruling in favour of South Africa's genocide case against Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territory to be effective.

“I believe that in exercising the order there would have to be a ceasefire, without it the order doesn’t actually work,” Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor said while addressing the media in The Hague following the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in favour of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel.

While she would have wanted a ceasefire, “there is no way that I’m gonna say I’m disappointed,” she affirmed. She had hoped for it, but the fact of delivering humanitarian aid and taking measures that reduce the level of harm against persons who has no role in what Israel is combating is all the more important she said.

The saving of lives, the Minister indicated, is not merely with respect to having a ceasefire. “It’s ensuring that humanitarian aid is provided to those who needs support, as well as ensuring that the state of Israel, which is currently the occupier and administrator in Palestine provides the necessary basic services that the residents of Gaza and the West Bank require.”

Her remarks in The Hague, the Netherlands comes minutes after the ICJ ordered Israel early Friday (26 January 2024) to take all measures to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza. This after South Africa filed a case with ICJ in December 2023 alleging Israel’s military action in its war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip is genocidal – under the Genocide Convention.

South Africa asserted that “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in, and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza”.

The country’s nearly 50 lawyers also prepared a separate lawsuit against the US and UK governments on the grounds that they are complicit in Israeli forces’ war crimes in Palestine

International Court of Justice vindicates South Africa in Gaza genocide case: Israel-Hamas war

The ICJ court ruled it has jurisdiction to hear arguments and it therefore denied Israel’s request that it throws out the case. It ordered Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent genocide and report back to the court within one month.

Elaborating further on her statement following the ruling, Minister Naledi Pandor said “the saving of lives is not merely with respect to having a ceasefire. It’s ensuring that humanitarian aid is provided to those who needs support, as well as ensuring that the state of Israel, which is currently the occupier and administrator in Palestine provides the necessary basic services that the residents of Gaza and the West Bank requires.” 

She said Israel would have to attend to how it conducts its search for the hostages and Hamas individuals who carried out October 7 attacks.

What the ruling means to South Africa

According to Minister Naledi Pandor, “this case was very much about International bodies ensuring that they exercise their responsibility to ensure they protect us all as global citizens. All member states of the United nations have attached their signatures to a range of instruments that when lives are threatened, these instruments are not brought bear. South Africa had a view we could not stand idly by, and continue to observe the killing of thousands of Palestinians citizens who had no role in the awful acts of hostage taking and killing that was done by Hamas. Therefore we thought that it’s important that we do report and apply to the International Court of Justice that the measures provided within the Convention for the punishment and prevention of genocide are brought to bear, and that the state of Israel is called upon by the judges to act to protect civilian and to end the massive level of harm that we have seen since the Israeli action began.” 

Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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