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Micheál Martin today in Dublin Sasko Lazarov/Rolling News

'This is complex': Tánaiste says he will be in touch with opposition parties on ICJ case

Micheál Martin said the opposition “need to be appraised of what is actually involved”.

TÁNAISTE AND MINISTER for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has said he has received “preliminary” legal briefings relating to whether Ireland should join South Africa’s genocide case against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

When asked by The Journal for an update on the Government’s deliberations, the Tánaiste said the situation is complex. 

“The overall point I would make is that in Ireland there is a strong, unified position in terms of a humanitarian ceasefire. We were one of the first countries in the EU to call for such a humanitarian ceasefire, when many weren’t at the time.

“And likewise, we want to hold Israel to account and we wanted to hold Hamas to account for the conduct of the war in Gaza and also in terms of the Hamas attack on 7 October,” the Tánaiste said. 

On Friday, the ICJ issued preliminary orders in the case taken by South Africa. 

The preliminary order called on the state of Israel to do everything it can to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza. However, it fell short of calling for a ceasefire.

The preliminary orders also call on Israel to allow aid into Gaza

Speaking at the time, the Tánaiste said the Government would “strongly consider” supporting the case and that it would receive “urgent” legal advice on the matter. 

Sinn Féin will use its private members’ time in the Dáil tomorrow evening to put down a motion calling on Ireland to support South Africa’s case.

Martin said today: “I have been briefed preliminarily by my own legal team here in the department. 

“This is complex. It’s not at all simple. We’re talking about the International Court of Justice, the Genocide Convention, and I will discuss this with all of the opposition parties because I think that they need to be apprised of what actually is involved here.”

The Tánaiste said Ireland has also been in touch with government officials from South Africa as well as with Irish officials in the Hague. 

He said South Africa has not yet filed any substantive case and said the indication from South Africa’s officials is that it will take some months for them to do so. 

“There’s a lot of work to be done yet so we will engage with the opposition parties.”