Politics

South Africa levels genocide charges against Israel in ICJ over Gaza war

Jan 12

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In a pivotal address to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Jan. 11, South Africa accused Israel of genocide against Palestinians, seeking urgent intervention. Israel, denying the claim, has initiated massive bombardment in response to Hamas-led terror attacks.

As a party to the 1948 Genocide Convention, South Africa urged the ICJ for provisional measures, demanding an immediate halt to military operations in Gaza.

The allegations include the use of 6,000 bombs in the first week, with 2,000-pound bombs hitting safe areas and refugee camps.

South Africa is calling for Israel to refrain from actions violating the Convention, prevent mass expulsion, ensure humanitarian aid access, and safeguard Palestinian lives.

“The State of Israel must, in line with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide concerning the Palestinian People, a group protected by the Convention, refrain from committing acts outlined in Article 2 of the Convention,” said Vusimuzi Madonsela, the South African ambassador to the Netherlands.

The ICJ hearings are focusing on South Africa’s plea for emergency measures that challenge Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

Both nations, parties to the Genocide Convention, define genocide as acts intending to destroy specific groups. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken dismisses the lawsuit as “meritless,” a stance welcomed by Israel.

The ICJ sessions are set to continue with Israel presenting its case on Friday. The country will argue against South Africa’s claims of Israeli genocide under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Addressing the court in The Hague, Friday Jan. 12, Israel’s attorney Gilad Noam said South Africa “has not shown any dispute between itself and the respondent at the time the application was submitted. Indeed, it tried to mislead the court into believing that one had existed.”

Following the conclusion of initial presentations by South Africa and Israel at the ICJ, justices must now determine if there are adequate grounds to approve South Africa’s request for provisional measures against Israel. The aim is to prevent further harm to the rights of the Palestinian people under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

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