CJPME strongly backs South Africa’s historic ICJ case

Montreal, January 11, 2024 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) applauds South Africa’s historic efforts today at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to seek an urgent end to the wanton violence and destruction in Gaza. In its presentations to the ICJ, South Africa put forward detailed and substantive arguments to show that Israel’s actions constitute genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza, that Israel’s political and military leaders have expressed genocidal intent, and that provisional measures are necessary to stop Israel’s actions. CJPME reiterates its appeal to Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly for Canada to give its full support for South Africa’s application to the ICJ.

“This is truly a historic moment. South Africa is demonstrating what global leadership looks like, while the rest of the world has failed to stop the genocide from unfolding before our eyes,” wrote Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “Canada should put its full support behind South Africa’s case, and particularly its call for urgent provisional measures to stop Israel’s unconscionable actions, as the most promising legal mechanism available to bring an end to genocidal violence against Palestinians in Gaza,” added Bueckert.

Today was the first day of preliminary hearings at the World Court, with Israel scheduled to present its defence tomorrow. South Africa is requesting from the court as a “matter of extreme urgency” a series of provisional measures that would apply immediately, including the suspension of Israel’s military operations against Gaza and an end to the deprivation of essentials like food and water. In its letter to Mélanie Joly, CJPME argued that as a State party to the Genocide Convention, Canada should intervene in the proceedings as a State party in support of South Africa, either now or during potential proceedings on the merits.

CJPME also welcomes the principled statements from Canadian politicians and civil society in support of the ICJ’s role in investigating Israel’s actions in Gaza. This week, Liberal MPs Salma Zahid and Iqra Khalid, as well as the Green Party of Canada, issued statements urging the government to support South Africa's case while the NDP’s Foreign Affairs Critic Heather McPherson issued a statement expressing support for the ICJ and urging Canada not to oppose its important work. Multiple joint statements have been signed by hundreds of Canadian organizations urging the government to support South Africa’s ICJ application, while thousands of Canadians have emailed the government urging the same.

To date, however, the Canadian government has declined to take a public position on South Africa’s application, only telling the press that it is “aware” of the case. CJPME remains concerned that Canada will end up attempting to quietly undermine South Africa’s application at the ICJ, as it did last summer when it asked the ICJ to decline to make an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s actions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME, 613-315-7947
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org

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