In a bold move reflecting South Africa’s commitment to human rights, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the country’s decision to bring Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for alleged genocide crimes. Addressing the nation during the African National Congress’ 112th birthday celebrations in Mbombela on Monday, Ramaphosa emphasized that unwavering principles drive this step.
Ramaphosa asserted that South Africa often considered a global reference on human rights issues, is duty-bound to condemn Israel’s actions against Palestinians in Gaza under the United Nations Genocide Convention. The president highlighted the significance of taking a stand on principles, indicating that the ICJ case, scheduled for Thursday, reflects the country’s commitment to supporting those facing challenges akin to South Africa’s historical struggles.
“The people of Palestine today are being bombed. They are being killed, and there is apartheid there in Israel. And we were duty-bound to stand up and support the Palestinians,” stated President Ramaphosa during his address.
Drawing inspiration from Nelson Mandela, the founding father of South African democracy, Ramaphosa underscored that true freedom for South Africa cannot be achieved unless the Palestinians enjoy their freedom. Despite acknowledging the potential risks of South Africa’s decision, given its status as a small country and economy, Ramaphosa reiterated that the nation stands firmly on principle.
“Some people say it’s risky. We are a small country, we are a small economy, but we stand on principle,” he declared.
The president emphasized that South Africa remains consistent in its foreign policy, advocating negotiation as the preferred method for resolving disputes. The move to bring the dispute before the ICJ signals the nation’s unwavering commitment to addressing global issues through international legal mechanisms.
As the world watches, South Africa’s decision to confront Israel at the ICJ underscores the nation’s dedication to upholding human rights and its willingness to challenge powerful entities on the international stage. The outcome of Thursday’s proceedings will undoubtedly be closely monitored as South Africa stands by its principles, echoing its historic struggles for justice and equality.