President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the International Court of Justice’s interim ruling on South Africa’s genocide case against Israel.
In a landmark ruling at The Hague on Friday, the court ruled in favour of South Africa’s request for provisional measures against Israel over its war in Gaza.
The ICJ deemed South Africa’s accusation that Israel is engaging in genocide plausible, rejecting Israel’s request to dismiss the case.
In its decision, the ICJ directed Israel to undertake all necessary measures to prevent further violations of the Genocide Convention and to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. The court emphasised that Israel must ensure its military forces refrain from acts of genocide and must also preserve evidence related to the alleged genocide.
Israel is required to provide a report to the court within a month, detailing the actions it is taking to comply with the order aimed at preventing genocide in Gaza.
Genocidal acts must be punished
Reacting to the historical victory, Ramaphosa acknowledged the ruling, stating that it was a victory for international law and justice. The president emphasised that Israel is now expected to abide by and reconsider its acts.
“We expect Israel, as a self-proclaimed democracy and a state that respects the rule of law to abide by the measures handed down by the International Court of Justice,” he said.
“Those who commit genocidal acts must be held accountable.”
In response to critics who said South Africa’s declaration of an international dispute against Israel is unwarranted, Ramaphosa asserted that the nation understands the anguish of dispossession, state-sponsored violence, and apartheid firsthand. He emphasised that South Africa refuses to be passive observers in the face of perceived injustices inflicted upon other people.
“For us, that was the face of apartheid. We as South Africans will not be passive bystanders and watch the crimes that were visited upon us being perpetrated upon other people elsewhere. We stand on the side of freedom for all; we stand on the side of justice,” the president said.
South Africans will not be passive bystanders
“Never, never, and never again shall it be that acts of genocide are perpetrated with impunity as we, the international community, look on. We firmly believe that following this judgement, there should now be a more considered effort towards a ceasefire, and negotiations should commence.”
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, also welcomed the ruling. She stated that she would have preferred an immediate ceasefire order to be imposed.
“I believe that in exercising the order, there would have to be a ceasefire. Without it, the order doesn’t actually work. I would have wanted a ceasefire; I hoped for it. But the fact of delivering humanitarian aid, the fact of taking measures that reduce the levels of harm against persons who have no role in what Israel is combating, for me, requires a ceasefire,” she said.
“We are satisfied that the provisional measures that we sought to address would be addressed by the court.”