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South Africa’s ICJ Genocide Case Against Israel

In a session at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), South Africa has presented a case accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. The accusations, rejected by Israel as baseless, were presented in the context of the ongoing conflict in the region.

ICJ Genocide Case Against Israel

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The ICJ, the UN’s top court based in The Hague, is hearing the case, which is not a criminal trial but holds international attention.

South Africa’s submission alleges that Israel’s actions aim at the destruction of a part of the Palestinian national, racial, and ethnic group.

The ICJ genocide case includes claims of killing Palestinians in Gaza, causing serious harm, and inflicting conditions of life at their physical destruction.

South Africa has the court to order Israel to cease all military operations in Gaza and has called for provisional measures to be implemented.

These measures include halting Israel’s military activities in Gaza. Israel, a signatory to the Genocide Convention of 1948, which defines genocide and commits states to prevent it, will present its defense on Friday.

The ICJ’s rulings are theoretically binding but not enforceable. In this case, the court is expected to deliver an opinion on the genocide allegation.

Protests both in support and against the case took place outside the ICJ, with Dutch police managing tensions between Palestinian and Israeli supporters.

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South Africa argues that Israel’s actions form a calculated pattern indicating genocidal intent. The country’s legal team presented evidence, including targeting civilians, bombing designated safe zones, depriving Palestinians of basic needs, and destroying social infrastructure.

The ICJ genocide case relies on past weeks of evidence showing a pattern of conduct supporting the claim of genocidal acts. Israel denies the genocide accusation, stating its actions are in response to deadly attacks by Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Israel’s commitment to self-defense under international law and its intention not to permanently displace or occupy Gaza. Israel’s legal delegation is expected to show its right to self-defense during the proceedings.

The ICJ cannot prosecute individuals for crimes like genocide. However, its opinions carry weight with the UN and other international institutions.

Protests were observed in The Hague but also in Cape Town, South Africa, where people voiced their concerns and support for the case.

The ICJ genocide case is framed within the Genocide Convention of 1948, addressing the situation of the allegations against Israel.

South Africa draws parallels between Israel’s actions and its own history of apartheid, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that opposition to the ongoing slaughter in Gaza led the country to approach the ICJ.

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In response, Israeli President Isaac Herzog called the accusations atrocious and preposterous. The fallout includes South Africa cutting off diplomatic ties with Israel over its response to Hamas attacks on October 7.

Genocide, under international law, involves committing acts with the intention to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.

The conflict in Gaza has led to a large number of casualties, mostly women and children, according to Hamas-run health ministry data.

Israel asserts its commitment to preventing civilian casualties and shows its actions as responses to Hamas attacks.

South Africa presents its case, accusing Israel of genocidal acts, citing a pattern of conduct and statements from Israeli leaders.

Israel’s defense is expected on the following day, where it may focus on its right to self-defense and challenge the genocide allegations.

The ICJ could rule on South Africa’s request for Israel to suspend its military campaign, but a final ruling on the genocide accusation may take years.

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