Israeli Offensive in Rafah – South Africa Submits Urgent Request to ICJ

South Africa brought a genocide case against Israel at The Hague. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The South African Government said that it had submitted an urgent request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding Israel’s intention to expand its military offensive in the densely overcrowded southern Gaza city of Rafah.

In a statement published on Tuesday, the government said it asked the Court “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.”

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South Africa cited section 1 of Article 75 of the Rules of Court, which says that  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,” the statement said, adding:

“This would be in serious and irreparable breach both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court’s Order of 26 January 2024.”

In December 2023, South Africa filed a case with the World Court accusing Israel of failing to fulfill its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Following two hearings on January 11 and 12, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel on January 26 to take measures to prevent and punish direct incitement of genocide in its ongoing war in Gaza.

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“The state of Israel shall (..) take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of the genocide convention,” the ICJ said.

An overwhelming majority of the ICJ’s 17-judge panel voted to order urgent measures, which covered most of South Africa’s request, aside from ordering a halt to the Israeli war on Gaza.

The court ordered Israel to refrain from any acts that could fall under the genocide convention and also ensure that the Israeli army do not commit any genocidal acts in Gaza.

Despite the ruling, Israel’s aggression and crimes against Palestinian civilians continued.

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According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 28,340 Palestinians have been killed, and 67,984 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 8,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all of the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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