update deskIsrael at War

Pretoria returns to ICJ with fresh filing against Israel

South Africa again applied to the World Court for provisional measures against Israel as it conducts operations in Rafah.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
The International Court of Justice in The Hague. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

South Africa on Friday again asked the International Court of Justice in the Hague to impose emergency measures on Israel, this time citing the latter’s military operations in Rafah.

In its latest request, South Africa said that the court’s previous measures “are not capable of ‘fully address[ing]’ the changed circumstances and new facts on which [its] Request is founded.”

It said Israel’s attack on Rafah poses “extreme risk” to humanitarian services and supplies, the Gaza medical system and the survival of Arabs in Gaza, and causes “irreparable harm to the rights” of Gazans, according to a press release on the ICJ website.

Israel has been carrying out limited operations in the city of Rafah, located in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip, and the last bastion of Hamas’s remaining battalions.

Egypt on Sunday announced it would formally support South Africa’s suit. Cairo has opposed Israel’s seizure of the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing to Sinai.

This is at least the third time that South Africa has petitioned the ICJ since the start of the current Gaza war.

Pretoria brought its first request on Dec. 29, accusing Israel of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention. But on Jan. 26, the court rejected South Africa’s request that it order a ceasefire.

South Africa then returned to the ICJ on March 6 with a new filing, claiming that it was compelled to do so “in light of the new facts and changes in the situation in Gaza—particularly the situation of widespread starvation.”

On March 28, the ICJ did approve additional measures against Israel, ordering that it ensure that Arabs in the Strip be given access to additional food, clothing, sanitation and medical assistance. The ICJ also demanded Israel increase the number of land crossing points into the Gaza Strip for supplies.

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