'There should've been a ceasefire', South Africa minister says after ICJ Gaza genocide case ruling

'There should've been a ceasefire', South Africa minister says after ICJ Gaza genocide case ruling
South African minister Naledi Pandor said that the ICJ should have gone further in its ruling on Gaza and called for an immediate ceasefire.
3 min read
26 January, 2024
Naledi Pandor is among the prominent South African officials backing the country's case filed against Israel [Getty/file photo]

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) should have issued an order for a ceasefire in Gaza in its preliminary ruling on the  genocide case against Israel, South Africa's Minister of International Relations has said.

The ICJ said that Israel must do all it can to prevent genocidal acts against Palestinians in Gaza, where Tel Aviv has been conducting a brutal onslaught for more than three months. But the court failed to call for a ceasefire, despite the fact that more than 26,000 people have been killed since Israel launched its operation on 7 October.

The court issued several emergency orders for Israel - but minister Naledi Pandor questioned how these could be implemented without a ceasefire.

"I would have wanted a ceasefire," Pandor said during a press conference in The Hague following the ICJ’s decision.

"In exercising the order, there would have to be a ceasefire. Without it, the order does not actually work."

The minister, however, said she "not disappointed" with the World Court’s ruling, as it acknowledged the plausible risk of Israel committing genocide in the Gaza Strip.

"But the fact of delivering humanitarian aid, the fact of taking measures, that reduce the levels of harms against persons who have no role in what Israel is combatting, for me requires a ceasefire," she said.

Meanwhile, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa also welcomed the court’s orders imposed on Israel to prevent genocidal actions.

"Today, Israel stands before the international community, its crimes against the Palestinians laid bare," he said.

"Some have told us that we should mind our own business and not get involved in the affairs of other countries. Others have said it was not our place."

"And yet it is very much our place, as people who know too well the pain of dispossession, discrimination, state-sponsored violence," he added, in reference to the apartheid era which plagued South Africa for much of the second half of the 20th century.

Ramaphosa also said he hoped the decision will not only be implemented but also lead to a renewed diplomatic push to end the fighting.

The Court’s ruling was highly anticipated in South Africa, who filed the case in December against Israel, accusing Tel Aviv of breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention.

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