Statement from the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the International Court of Justice's order

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague today announced an order in South Africa's case against Israel.

On 29 December 2023, South Africa filed a case at the ICJ against Israel concerning violations of the Genocide Convention. South Africa alleges that the State of Israel, through acts and omissions, is committing genocide in Gaza. In today's order, the Court did not rule on whether the Genocide Convention has been breached or whether genocide has been committed, but stated that provisional measures are necessary to protect the rights under the Convention.   

‘The Court states that there is a risk of violation of the rights under the Genocide Convention, and imposes a number of restrictions and obligations on Israel for its warfare in Gaza. Among other things, Israel must prevent acts that violate the Genocide Convention,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide. 

‘We have noted that the Court emphasises that Israel must take immediate and effective steps to facilitate basic services and humanitarian assistance to the population in Gaza. Norway has been clear that the situation in Gaza is catastrophic for the civilian population. According to the UN, there is an imminent risk of famine in Gaza. Much more humanitarian aid must enter Gaza,’ said Minister Eide.  

‘It is positive that the Court's order on provisional measures was made so quickly and appears thorough. Israel must report to the Court on all measures implemented within one month,’ said the Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

‘Respect for the Court is essential to strengthen the adherence to international law, and we expect Israel to fully respect the Court's order. We have said since October that Israel has a right to self-defense, but that this defense must be within the limitations of international law,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.