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South Africa Genocide Case Against Israel at International Court of Justice

south africa

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, is currently holding hearings in a case brought by South Africa against Israel. The case accuses Israel of genocide during the Gaza war and seeks an emergency halt to its Rafah offensive. Let’s delve into the details:

What Is the ICJ?

The ICJ, established in 1945, is the highest United Nations legal body. The ICJ’s 15-judge panel, expanded by an additional judge chosen by Israel due to the presence of a South African judge, addresses border disputes and cases where states accuse others of breaking U.N. treaty obligations. Both South Africa and Israel are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention, which gives the ICJ jurisdiction to rule on disputes related to the treaty.

South Africa’s Case

South Africa’s 84-page initial filing alleges that Israel committed genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. It claims that Israel’s actions, including killing Palestinians, causing serious harm, and creating conditions for physical destruction, constitute genocide. South Africa also highlights Israel’s failure to provide essential humanitarian assistance during the war with Palestinian combatant group Hamas. Additionally, it refers to Israel’s sustained bombing campaign, which Gaza health authorities say has resulted in over 35,000 deaths.

Israel’s Response

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the genocide accusations as outrageous. Israel contends that it does its best to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza and accuses Hamas of using Palestinians as human shields. Israel asserts its right to self-defense following the October 7 Hamas-led attack, which resulted in 1,200 deaths and 253 abductions according to Israeli tallies1.

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