South Africa has file a new request at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for additional Provisional Measures and the modification of Provisional Measures, ordered by the ICJ on 26 January and 16 February 2024, regarding Israel’s assault on Gaza.

In the new request, South Africa states it is “compelled to return to the Court in light of the new facts and changes in the situation in Gaza — particularly the situation of widespread starvation — brought about by the continuing egregious breaches of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide . . . by the State of Israel . . . and its ongoing manifest violations of the provisional measures indicated by this Court on 26 January 2024”.

South Africa has urged the ICJ to order additional and modified Provisional Measures without holding a hearing due to the “extreme urgency of the situation”.

In a recent address to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor said:

This year, 2024 marks 30 years of constitutional democracy in our country South Africa. Our constitution which serves as a guide to our foreign policy took inspiration from the universal declaration of human rights and other key international instruments of international law.

Our South African Bill of Rights recognises the quality, dignity and worth of every person. We ensured when we wrote the Constitution that our Bill of Rights would not be on a standard lower than that of international legal instruments. This incorporation of international law into our Constitution has strongly influenced the nature and practice of our foreign policy and we have as post-apartheid South Africa made remarkable progress in implementing our Bill of Rights.

We have noted with interest the language that we sometimes use as we debate on these matters in this House, and it has been intriguing to note the discourse when we speak of Russian aggression and then Israel war against Hamas. By implication of our language, all innocent Palestinians are members of Hamas and thus deserving of being killed while Russia practices aggression.

This is a rather strange interpretation and this is why we hold the belief that all of us have a collective duty to ensure that the Human Rights Council is always fit for and relevant to purpose. However, the current divisions on global breaches that are evident in the Council are impeding our nations from focussing on the victims of Human Rights in all regions of the world.

We need to restrain ourselves from being party to the instrumentalisation of the Council and address directly and firmly the current polarisation, selectivity and indeed double standards.

Dr Naledi Pandor

South Africa filed an application instituting proceedings against Israel alleging violations by Israel of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on 23 December, 2023.

The application contained a request for Provisional Measures and the ICJ made an Order for Provisional Measures on 26 January, 2024.

South Africa previously made a request for additional Provisional Measures and the ICJ made its decision on 16 February, 2024.

Related: WATCH: Livestream International Court of Justice deliver its Order in the case South Africa v. Israel

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