Por Soraya Rodríguez Ramos

HomeEventsSouth Africa v. Israel 

South Africa v. Israel 

Soraya Rodríguez, together with Barry Andrews, MEPs from the Renew Europe group, co-organised the event “South Africa against Israel: legal analysis, crime of genocide and EU’s responsibility towards ICJ rulings“. The objective of the event is to make a legal analysis to understand the responsibility of the EU for Israel to implement the provisional measures issued by the ICJ in its resolution of 26 January 2023, following South Africa’s complaint of a possible crime of genocide in Gaza. This included the participation of experts in international law such as Giulia Pinzauti (former associate legal officer at the International Court of Justice), Vaios Koutroulis (professor at the International Law centre at the Université Libre de Bruxelles), William Schabas (academic expert in the crime of genocide and chair of the 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry on the Gaza Conflict), Nimer Sultany, Chief Editor of the Palestine Yearbook of International Law and Professor of Public Law at SOAS University in London, Janina Dill (co-director of the Oxford Institute of Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict) and Chantal Meloni (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights).

In the first panel “Analysis of the South Africa case against Israel: what do we have so far and what can we expect?” these experts have shared their vision on the implementation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip. They have also deepened in the context of the case and the provisional measures taken, the involvement of both parties in the case and the EU’s responsibility to ensure compliance with these measures; as well as the substantive similarities of the case with others presented above and Nicaragua’s parallel complaint to Germany for selling arms to Israel. 

The second panel, entitled “Analysis of the legal concept of genocide”, has offered an in-depth analysis of the case, the legal definition of genocide, how the case fits into this definition and the implications that these interim measures should have for EU foreign policy. In addition, the role of the International Court of Justice as the third actor in the case has been analysed, as well as the social and future responsibility of not acting.

Soraya Rodríguez, who traveled last December to Rafah with a group of MEPs from Renew Europe, has denounced the murder of 7 aid workers from the NGO of Spanish chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen. For the MEP, it is another example “of the harrowing reality in Gaza,” where nearly 33.000 Palestinians, including 13.800 children, and about 200 aid workers have already been killed under Israeli fire. Before October, Gaza’s population receiving food aid reached two-thirds and acute child malnutrition did not reach 1 per cent. Now, this data has skyrocketed: the entire Gazan population is in phase 3 of famine, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, 2.2 million people, and all children under the age of five, 335.000, are at risk of severe acute malnutrition, while more than 155.000 pregnant women and nursing mothers are at risk for lack of food.

In the midst of this situation, there was South Africa’s complaint against Israel before the International Court of Justice, which has ordered Israel to take all necessary measures by considering it plausible that it is committing genocide on the basis of the Genocide Convention against the Palestinian population of Gaza. Among these binding measures, the ICJ obliges Israel to take action to prevent the death of Palestinian civilians, combat any call for Palestinian genocide and ensure access to humanitarian aid by civilians. In the face of Israel’s inaction and “in view of the worsening living conditions of Palestinians in Gaza, in particular the spread of famine and starvation”, the ICJ issued further additional interim measures on 28 March, ordering the opening of more border crossings and actions to prevent the Israeli army from “not committing acts that violate any of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza as a protected group”.

Soraya criticized that, with the actions of the Israeli army following the attack by Hamas on October 7, Gaza has gone from being “the largest open-pit prison in the world” to “the largest open-pit cemetery in the world.” In particular, she noted that humanitarian workers have been military targets, as have Gaza’s hospitals, electricity and water treatment infrastructures, and that Israel is using humanitarian aid as a weapon of war. 

With its continued attacks on civilians, civilian infrastructure and humanitarian personnel, as well as the blockade of entry of humanitarian aid, Israel is flagrantly violating ICJ provisional measures and international humanitarian law,” said Soraya Rodríguez. The MEP has demanded that the EU be brave because so far EU is demonstrating “an unbearable double standard” for Putin and Israel. “The EU has instruments in its hand to enforce, or to try to enforce, these interim measures imposed by the International Court of Justice on Israel that are nothing more than to preserve and protect the lives of thousands of human beings,” recalled the MEP. The event was attended by the Ambassador of Palestine to the EU, Adel Atieh, and his Chilean counterparts, Gloria Navarrete, and Jordan, Saja Majali

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Soraya Rodríguez Ramos

Mujeres al frente es un espacio de reflexión dirigido por la política y abogada española Soraya Rodríguez Ramos. Desde 2019, es diputada del Parlamento Europeo en la delegación del partido Ciudadanos. Desde su escaño de eurodiputada, desarrolla un intenso trabajo como portavoz en Igualdad de Género y Derechos de la Mujer del grupo Renew Europe, así como miembro del Comité de Derechos Humanos y de la Comisión de Medio Ambiente por su compromiso con el cuidado del planeta y la justicia climática.