Conflicts & War

ICJ begins hearing in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel

The Hague, Jan 11 (EFE).- The United Nation’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday began hearings in a case brought forth by South Africa, accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians during its ongoing military operation in Gaza.

In its arguments before the highest UN court, the South African legal team is expected to call for urgent measures regarding the conflict, including an immediate end to the ongoing military operation in Gaza.

The South African legal team is led by John Dugard, an international law professor and former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

South Africa has characterized Israel’s actions in Gaza as “genocidal” in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of “a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group.”

South Africa has asked the ICJ to assess Israel’s actions in Gaza in light of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted in 1948 and in force in 152 countries.

It also contended that Israel has “engaged in, is engaging in, and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

The ICJ will likely deliver only an opinion on the genocide allegations since the case is not a criminal trial and will focus on the necessity for precautionary measures to protect the rights of the Palestinian people during the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

Among the requested measures, South Africa calls for the immediate suspension of Israel’s military operations in Gaza, cessation of destruction, and preservation of any evidence relevant to the case.

Israel has chosen a legal team of four, including British lawyer Malcolm Shaw, an expert in territorial disputes and genocide law, to represent the country in the legal process.

Just hours before the hearing in The Hague, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that Israel had no intention of permanently occupying Gaza or displacing its civilian population.

He added that Israeli forces were doing everything possible to minimize civilian casualties during the ongoing operation in Gaza, initiated on Oct. 7 in response to a multipronged attack by the Islamist group Hamas that resulted in at least 1,200 deaths in Israel.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military operations in Gaza have killed over 23,300 Palestinians, wounded more than 60,000, and displaced 1.9 million in a territory of 2.3 million population, according to the Gaza health ministry. EFE ir-jma/bks/sc

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