News Release

South Africa Tries to Stop Israeli Assault on Rafah; Nicaragua Warns Britain and Germany

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The South African Government has just “made an urgent request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to consider whether the decision announced by Israel to extend its military operations in Rafah, which is the last refuge for surviving people in Gaza, requires that the court uses its power to prevent further imminent breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza. “Under Article 75(1) of the Rules of Court, ‘The Court may at any time decide to examine proprio motu whether the circumstances of the case require the indication of provisional measures which ought to be taken or complied with by any or all of the parties.’ …

“The South African government said it was gravely concerned that the unprecedented military offensive against Rafah, as announced by the State of Israel, has already led to and will result in further large scale killing, harm and destruction. This would be in serious and irreparable breach both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court’s Order of 26 January 2024.” See from Jan. 26: “World Court Orders Israel to Abide by Genocide Convention and Stop Killing.”

The UN Security Council is expected to vote on a resolution based on the ICJ Order of provisional measures calling for a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Middle East Eye reports: “Nicaragua has warned Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Canada that it will take the countries to the International Court of Justice over allegations that weapons they are providing Israel are being used in a genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.”

Al-Haq and other Palestinian human rights and legal groups have just released the statement: “Deadly Assault on Rafah and Imminent Forced Expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza in Continuing Nakba, Requires Urgent International Intervention.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle@illinois.edu
Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Boyle’s books include The Bosnian People Charge Genocide (1996) Palestine, Palestinians and International Law (2009) and World Politics, Human Rights and International Law (2021). He was featured on the news release “On Israel: Lawyer Who Applied Genocide Convention for Bosnia Recommends it Now for Palestinians.”

He said today: “This is a good move by South Africa. The Court should issue new provisional measures of protection for the Palestinians especially given that Israel has continued its genocidal acts in wanton violation of the Court’s Order of January 26 and is threatening catastrophic genocide against the Palestinians by invading Rafah.” See from the Bisan Center for Research and Development: “128 Days on Israel’s Aggression and Two Weeks after the ICJ Ruling, Israel is Continuing its Genocide.”

“The warning from Nicaragua is significant. It could lead to World Court lawsuits against these four States for aiding and abetting Israeli genocide against the Palestinians, an Emergency Hearing by the World Court, another round of oral arguments, and new provisional measures of protection for the benefit of the Palestinians that would go to the Security Council for enforcement and, if that does not succeed, to the United Nations General Assembly for enforcement under the Uniting for Peace Resolution (1950). It is telling that Nicaragua is doing this because they won a resounding World Court Lawsuit against the United States from 1984 to 1986 for illegally mining their harbors. Although the United States richly deserves it too, it would be difficult for Nicaragua to successfully sue the United States for aiding and abetting Israeli genocide against the Palestinians because of its disingenuous Reservation to Article 9 of the Genocide Convention denying such jurisdiction to the World Court.”

Nicaragua has also filed a Declaration of Intervention in the South Africa case, which other countries can do and several, including Jordan and Bangladesh, have stated they will.

See New York Times article from Monday: “Dutch Court Moves to Block Export of Fighter Jet Parts to Israel.”