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International Relations


Tinashe Mupasiri



The Republic of South Africa has embraced the recent decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the protection of civilians in Rafah, Gaza. Following the Article 75 application, the Court’s ruling underscores the urgent need for immediate action to safeguard the lives of innocent civilians in the region.

In its Order of 26 January 2024, the ICJ highlighted the critical nature of the situation in Rafah and throughout the Gaza Strip. Citing the words of the United Nations Secretary-General, who referred to the escalating crisis as a “humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences,” the Court emphasized the gravity of the circumstances.

The Court’s decision acknowledges several key points:

  1. •The planned incursions by Israel in Rafah pose a significant threat to an already dire humanitarian situation.
  2. •Existing provisional measures must be adhered to in order to mitigate further escalation.
  3. •Compliance with these measures necessitates the protection of civilians, including those in Rafah.

Importantly, the ICJ clarifies that any military action by Israel against Palestinians in the current context constitutes a violation of its order. The Court explicitly states that Israel is obligated to ensure the safety and security of all Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in accordance with the Genocide Convention and the ICJ’s order.

South Africa reaffirms its commitment to utilizing diplomatic channels, including the United Nations Security Council, to ensure the full and effective implementation of these provisional measures.

As the international community grapples with the ongoing crisis in Gaza, South Africa stands firm in its support for the protection of civilian lives and the promotion of peace and stability in the region.

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