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South Africa files ‘genocide case’ against Israel at International Court of Justice

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By Ragheema Mclean

South Africa filed an application at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to begin proceedings against Israel for its brutal attacks against Palestinians, the court said on Friday.

In its application, the government said Israel’s actions in Gaza amount to “genocide and ethnic cleansing.”

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, over 21,500 Palestinians have been murdered by Israeli forces in Gaza since early October. Furthermore, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees reported at least 308 people were sheltering in United Nations shelters.

DIRCO: The SA ICJ application

In a media statement, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) stated that as a State Party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, South Africa is under a treaty obligation to prevent genocide from occurring.

DIRCO noted:

“South Africa is gravely concerned with the plight of civilians caught in the present Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip due to the indiscriminate use of force and forcible removal of inhabitants,” noted DIRCO.

“Furthermore, there are ongoing reports of international crimes, such as crimes against humanity and war crimes, being committed as well as reports that acts meeting the threshold of genocide or related crimes as defined in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, have been and may still be committed in the context of the ongoing massacres in Gaza,” proclaimed DIRCO.

South Africa has continuously called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, added the department, and the resumption of talks that will end the violence arising from the continued belligerent occupation of Palestine.

Last month, parliament passed a motion to end diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv and close Israel’s embassy until a ceasefire is agreed upon and both parties commit to binding United Nations (UN) facilitated negotiations whose outcome must be a just and sustainable.

The government said Israel’s conduct violates the UN’s Genocide Convention and called for an expedited hearing.

The application also requests the court to indicate provisional measures to “protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people” under the Convention.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Furthermore, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) welcomed the government’s decision to apply with the ICJ against Israel.

Speaking to VOC News, a member of the PSC, Abeedah Adams, noted that the government’s stance is indeed a welcoming act.

Adams said the country must continue putting pressure on the government to isolate the Zionist state of Israel.

She stressed, “As South Africans, we must also continue to monitor and demand that our government cut all diplomatic and economic ties with the Zionist state of Israel.”

“We need to also apply pressure on the government to prosecute all South Africans who served and who are serving in the Israeli Occupation Forces.”

“We must also continue our calls for an immediate, lasting, and sustainable ceasefire,” she reiterated.

Israel’s response

Meanwhile, Israel has rejected South Africa’s calling, declaring it “baseless “and “blood libel.”

“South Africa’s claim lacks both a factual and a legal basis, and constitutes despicable and contemptuous exploitation of the Court,” Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, Lior Haiat, said in a social post on X.

Palestine’s response

Furthermore, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed South Africa’s decision and called on the ICJ to take immediate action to prevent further harm to the Palestinian people.

“Israel’s stated policy, acts, and omissions are genocidal in character and are committed with the requisite specific intent to the destruction of the Palestinian people under its colonial occupation and apartheid regime in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention,” declared the Ministry.

“The State of Palestine appeals to the international community and the Contracting Parties to the Convention to uphold their obligations and support the Court in the proceedings,” added the Ministry.

VOC News

Photo: VOCfm

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