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South Africa accuses Israel of “genocide”, ICJ holds two days of hearing

South Africa

South Africa filed a lawsuit at The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague last month, accusing Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza. The International Court of Justice is scheduled to hold hearings on the case on Thursday (January 11) and Friday to initially hear South Africa’s request for an immediate ceasefire. Israel will also defend itself, and a legal battle is about to begin.

Israel has fiercely denied the accusation of “genocide” and plans to send a strong legal team to defend its military operation launched after the Hamas attack on October 7.

Litigation in this case could take years

“Israel will appear before the International Court of Justice to refute South Africa’s ridiculous blood libel for providing political and legal cover to the rapist regime of Hamas,” Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said on Wednesday.

Levy added Said that Israel entrusted international law lawyer Malcolm Shaw to defend it. Shaw has written “Genocide and International Law,” which the Red Cross recommends as recommended reading.

Levy emphasized that while South Africa chose to act as the devil’s advocate, Israel was represented by a respected authority on international law.

The Associated Press reported that Juliette McIntyre, an international law expert at the University of South Australia, said, “I think they (Israel) want to be exonerated and think they can successfully resist the charge of genocide.”

International Court of Justice (ICJ) The two-day hearing will begin with South African lawyers explaining to the judge why South Africa has accused Israel of “genocidal nature” in its “actions and omissions” in the Gaza war and asked the court to impose a binding interim order requiring Israel to stop military operations immediately.

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A decision could take weeks

According to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, Israeli attacks have killed more than 23,300 Palestinians in Gaza, mostly women and children.

Hamas launched a raid on Israel on October 7 last year. Its militants killed about 1,200 people and kidnapped about 250 people in Gaza. About half of the hostages are still not released.

The International Court of Justice, which adjudicates disputes between states, has never held a state responsible for “genocide.” The closest came in 2007, when it ruled that Serbia had “violated its obligation to prevent genocide” by massacring more than 8,000 Muslims during the 1995 Bosnian civil war.

McIntyre believes South Africa’s charges “will have a hard time crossing the threshold of proving genocide.” Because it is not just a matter of killing large numbers of people, “there must be an intention to eliminate, in whole or in part, a group of people (e.g., by race or religion) at a specific location.”

In an 84-page filing last year, South Africa claimed Israel had shown this one intention

Israel insists it operates in accordance with international law and that its military operations in Gaza are directed against Hamas and other related militants. “Israel has clarified that the residents of the Gaza Strip are not enemies and that Israel strives to limit harm to non-combatants and allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.”

South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola will lead the delegation. Hearings in The Hague.

On the eve of the hearing, dozens of Palestinians gathered at a statue of Mandela in the occupied West Bank to thank South Africa for launching a “genocide” lawsuit against Israel for its bombing of Gaza.

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South Africa is one of the strongest critics of Israel on the continent. South Africa has long compared the treatment of Palestinians to South Africa’s history of apartheid policies, both historically and emotionally, although the Israeli government has always rejected such accusations.

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