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Israel v. South Africa: International Court of Justice orders Gaza’s Palestinians to be protected

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by News Desk


South Africa filed a case with the International Court of Justice claiming that Israel had violated the Genocide Convention in the Gaza Strip. The argument at hand is South Africa’s assertion that Israel’s recent aggressive actions in Gaza violate the convention, particularly the rights of the Palestinian people.

Facts of the Case:

  • Drawing attention to Israel’s activities in Gaza, South Africa claimed that they breached the Prevention of Genocide Convention.
  • In addition to gathering proof that Israel had committed acts of genocidal violence against Palestinians, South Africa demanded that Israel stop breaking the Genocide Convention altogether.
  • Judges from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) majority ruled that Israel might legitimately be violating Palestinian rights under the Genocide Convention.
  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) made it clear that rulings about whether or not there have been breaches must wait until the case’s merits are examined.

Decision by ICJ:

  • Protection Measures: Based on the Genocide Convention, ICJ deemed it reasonable to implement temporary measures to safeguard Palestinians’ rights in Gaza.
  • Standing and Jurisdiction: South Africa has the right to bring the claim against Israel, and ICJ has jurisdiction to review the case.
  • Provisional Protection Measures Issued:
    • In order to avoid violating the Genocide Convention, Israel must take action to stop crimes such as murder, injury, and imposition of circumstances that result in physical damage.
    • Israel must stop genocide instigation and punish those who do so.
    • To address the unfavourable circumstances Palestinians experience, Israel must offer humanitarian aid and basic amenities.
    • Evidence of purported Genocide Convention violations must be preserved by Israel.
    • Israel has one month to report on the actions it has taken.


In resolving South Africa’s claims against Israel, the ICJ’s interim measures—while not a final verdict—represent a significant step. Israel must act quickly to defend the rights of Palestinians in Gaza, as the International Court of Justice’s ruling underscores worries about possible breaches of the Genocide Convention.

Note: Differing views on the nature of the war, the implementation of legal structures, and the evidence supporting the accusation of genocide are shown by the dissenting opinions of Judge Sebutinde and Ad Hoc Judge Barak. The case highlights the many perspectives and intricate circumstances underlying the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Written By: Nikita Shankar @nikitaashankar

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