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Monday, July 15, 2024

Israel sued for ‘genocide’ in The Hague

South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice to intervene in Gaza conflict

South Africa has filed an appeal before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, alleging that Israeli actions in Gaza amount to “genocide” and asking for “provisional measures” to stop it, the top UN court announced on Friday.

The application claims “acts and omissions by Israel… are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent … to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group,” the ICJ said in a statement.

Read more: UN calls out Israel to put an end to the “unlawful killings”

Israel’s conduct towards the Palestinians in Gaza “is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention,” the government in Pretoria said. They also accused Israel of having “failed to prevent genocide” and “failed to prosecute the direct and public incitement to genocide” since October 7.

South Africa also asked the ICJ to “indicate provisional measures” in order to “protect against further, severe and irreparable harm” to Palestinians under the Genocide Convention. The ICJ also published the 84-page document that lists these measures in detail, first of which is for Israel to “immediately suspend its military operations in and against Gaza.”

Pretoria also demands of West Jerusalem to stop any and all attacks on Palestinians, and to revoke any orders whose goal is “the expulsion and forced displacement from their homes” or deprivation of access to food, water, fuel, shelter, medical supplies and other humanitarian needs.

Read more: Israel to discuss post-war Gaza plans

Anyone who engages in “direct and public incitement” to genocide or conspiracy to commit it must be brought to justice, the appeal insists. South Africa demanded Israel submit a report on complying with all these demands within one week.

Under the ICJ’s rules, South Africa’s application has priority over all other cases, because of the request for provisional measures.

South Africa has previously sought to charge Israel with war crimes before the International Criminal Court (ICC). West Jerusalem is not a signatory party to the ICC, but the court – also based in The Hague – has previously declared it had jurisdiction over Gaza and the West Bank.

On the other hand, both South Africa and Israel are signatories of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was first adopted in 1948, in response to the Nazi mass murder of Jews during WWII.