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South Africa files genocide case against Israel in ICJ

South Africa:

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), known as the World Court, stands as a pivotal organ among the United Nations’ six principal bodies. Specializing in the resolution of state disputes within the realms of international law, the ICJ also provides advisory opinions on global legal matters. As the sole international court dedicated to adjudicating general disputes between nations, its rulings and opinions hold significance as fundamental pillars of international law, in accordance with Article 59 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice.

South Africa on Friday asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to issue an immediate order declaring that Israel is in breach of its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention in its actions against the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a response that the lawsuit was “baseless.”

South Africa’s petition alleges Israel is in breach of its obligations under a treaty drawn up in the wake of the genocide, which makes it a crime to attempt to destroy a people, in whole or in part.

It asked the court to issue a provisional or short-term measure ordering Israel to halt its military campaign in Gaza, which it said was necessary in order to “protect the rights of the Palestinian people from further, serious, and irreparable damage to the rights of the Palestinian people in this case.” “It was necessary.” ,

No date has been set for the hearing.

While the ICJ in The Hague is considered the highest court of the United Nations, its decisions are sometimes ignored. In March 2022, the court ordered Russia to immediately stop its military operations in Ukraine.

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Israel rejected the filing

The war began on October 7, when militants from the Islamist group Hamas carried out a cross-border attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 Israelis hostage. Palestinian health officials say Israel responded with attacks on Hamas-ruled Gaza, killing more than 21,000 people.

In a first reaction to South Africa’s lawsuit, Israel’s Foreign Ministry blamed Hamas for causing the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by using them as human shields and stealing humanitarian aid from them, allegations Hamas denies.

“Israel has made it clear that the residents of the Gaza Strip are not the enemy and is making every possible effort to limit harm to uninvolved people,” the ministry statement said.

Palestine, whose statehood is disputed but the court grants it “observer state” status, said it welcomed South Africa’s lawsuit.

“The court must take immediate action to protect the Palestinian people and call on Israel, the occupying power, to halt its attacks,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The court application is the latest move to increase pressure by South Africa, which is critical of Israel’s war, since its lawmakers last month voted to close the Israeli embassy in Pretoria and suspend diplomatic ties.

In a statement from South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), the government said the application against Israel was filed on Friday.

“Israel, particularly since October 7, 2023, has failed to prevent genocide and has failed to prosecute direct and public incitements to genocide,” DIRCO said in a statement.

South Africa has for decades supported the Palestinian cause for statehood in the Israeli-occupied territories, comparing the plight of Palestinians to that of the black majority in South Africa during the repressive apartheid era, a comparison that Israel strongly rejects. Denies.

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A separate court in The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC), is separately investigating alleged atrocities in Gaza and the West Bank but has not named any suspects. Israel is not a member of the ICC and rejects its jurisdiction.

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