First Day of Session, South Africa Asks ICJ to Stop Israeli Genocide in Gaza

Photo: Special

The Hague, MINA – South Africa asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order the Israeli occupation entity to immediately stop its genocidal actions in the Gaza Strip which has caused more than 23,500 Palestinian civilians to be killed in more than three months of aggression.

The demand was made at the close of the first day of the trial in the case filed by South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice on Thursday in The Hague, Netherlands.

South Africa filed an 84-page case gathering evidence of Israel’s killing of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and their physical destruction amounting to crimes of genocide.

South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola stressed that no armed attack on a country’s territory, regardless of its severity, can justify a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Lamola emphasized that South Africa submitted this claim on behalf of the State of Palestine in the belief that it could prevent genocide and emphasized that what was happening in Gaza was contrary to international agreements on the prevention of genocide. He called for an end to the destruction facing Palestine.

“In extending our hand to the Palestinian people, we do so with full awareness that we are part of humanity,” said Lamola when delivering his opening statement at the case hearing at the ICJ.

“These are the words of our founding president, Nelson Mandela; this is the spirit in which South Africa acceded to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1998,” he added.

Meanwhile, Adila Hassim, a lawyer from the South African delegation, explained that Israel’s military attacks on Gaza had pushed residents to the brink of starvation. He highlighted the situation has reached the point where experts predict higher death rates from hunger and disease.

Hassim stressed the need to prevent Israel from continuing its genocide and urged the court to study Israel’s crimes and issue a decision to stop genocide against Palestinians.

She presented audible and visual evidence to illuminate how Israel is violating the Genocide Convention, using unprecedented levels of murder. Hashem stressed the lack of safe havens in Gaza as tens of thousands of people have been killed or injured in the past three months, with 70 percent of them being women and children.

The lawyer further detailed Israel’s deliberate destruction of homes, infrastructure and restrictions on the entry of aid, resulting in a real famine on the verge of collapse. He showed videos depicting the despair of Gazans, lacking clothing, shelter and clean water, and facing widespread disease.

After hearing South Africa’s arguments, the International Court of Justice will hold a hearing on Israel’s response to the genocide accusation on Friday.

After the hearing, it is expected that there will be a decision regarding possible emergency measures taken by the ICJ at the end of January.

However, it is said that the International Court of Justice will not immediately rule on Israel’s genocide violations because the process could take years.

The decisions of the International Court of Justice are final and without appeal, but the court does not provide a mechanism for enforcing these decisions.

The Genocide Convention of 1948 defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”.

Israeli troops launched their aggression on the Gaza Strip since October 7 2023, and have killed 23 thousand people, mostly women and children.

Israel denies the genocide accusations as baseless, accusing Pretoria of playing “devil’s advocate” for Hamas.

“I want to make several points clear: Israel has no intention of permanently occupying Gaza or displacing its civilian population,” said Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the X account (formerly Twitter).

South Africa and Israel are both parties to the Genocide Convention. This means that both countries are obliged not to commit genocide, and also to prevent and prosecute it. (T/RE1/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)