ICJ begins crucial meeting on Gaza situation


Johannesburg / Netherlands : The International Court of Justice (ICJ) began a two-day hearing on South Africa’s application to halt Israeli military operations in Gaza.

South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Vusimuzi Madonsela, told the judges that his country had again approached the ICJ because “the destruction of the Palestinian people continues, 35,000 people have been killed and much of Gaza is in ruins,” Xinhua news agency reported.

He said that Israel is not considering the lives of Palestinians as their lives and hence his country is continuously appealing to protect the “fundamental rights of the Palestinian people”.

South Africa had approached the International Court of Justice on 29 December last year. Subsequently, it also approached the ICJ in February and March this year seeking additional steps.

In the current request, Ambassador Madonsela highlights the “deteriorating situation in Gaza,” including Rafah, and calls for the issuance of an order for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the entire Gaza Strip.

South Africa has also demanded unhindered access from Israel for the United Nations and humanitarian aid agencies in Gaza. Israel will get a chance to present its case on Friday. A verdict in the case is expected in the coming weeks.

The United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council elected five judges on November 9 to serve on the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

Each judge will serve a nine-year term, starting on February 6, 2024.

The ICJ settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by other authorised UN organs.

The International Court of Justice

• The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

• It is informally known as the ‘World Court’.

• It was established by the United Nations Charter in June 1945.

• The first members of the ICJ were elected on February 6, 1946, at the first session of the UN General Assembly. The Court held its inaugural sitting at the iconic Peace Palace in The Hague, on  April 18, 1946.


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