Sunday, March 3, 2024

“Greatest urgency”: ICJ receives South Africa’s request for intervention over Rafah

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has acknowledged that on 12 February 2024, South Africa submitted an “urgent request for additional measures under Article 75 (1)” of the Rules of Court in connection with the “developing circumstances in Rafah” in the Genocide case against Israel for their war on Gaza.

“Rafah was subjected to an intense, unprecedented Israeli military assault, with an ongoing threat of yet further intensification of the assault — including by way of an Israeli ground invasion,” South Africa said in their submission.

Approximately 1.4 million Palestinians have now been pushed into Rafah by relentless Israeli bombing that has killed nearly 30,000 Palestinians. Israel advances with military operations in Rafah, the southernmost tip of the Gaza strip, against warnings from world leaders and human rights groups.

Rafah, normally home to 280,000 Palestinians, currently houses — primarily in makeshift tents — more than half of Gaza’s population, estimated at approximately 1.4 million people, approximately half of them children. They fled to Rafah, under Israeli military evacuation orders, from homes and areas that Israel has largely destroyed.

As the International Committee of the Red Cross has made clear, there is “no option” for the evacuation of the Palestinian population in Rafah as “there is nowhere else for the people to go”— the submission stated.

The ICJ ruled last month that Israel must take steps to prevent genocide in Gaza, including ending the killing of Palestinians and allowing adequate humanitarian aid into the territory.

“South Africa thus respectfully calls upon the Court to consider as a matter of the greatest urgency whether the developing circumstances in Rafah require that it exercise its power … to prevent further imminent breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza,” the South African filing reads.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor asserted that the Israeli army has maintained its rate of killing civilians, depriving them of their most basic human rights, besieging them, and starving them.

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