Friday, June 21, 2024

UN court begins hearing South Africa’s genocide case against Israel

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

The UN’s International Court of Justice begins hearing a case brought by South Africa against Israel on Thursday.

South Africa last month filed the case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) seeking a declaration that Israel has committed genocide against Palestine.

The ICJ, sometimes known as the World Court, is the United Nations venue for resolving disputes between states.

South Africa, an ally of Palestine wants this court case to bring attention to Israel’s crackdown against the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza.

The African nation said Israel’s action is in breach of its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

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

South Africa is also calling on the court to order Israel to stop military operations there.

“Our opposition to the ongoing slaughter of the people of Gaza has driven us as a country to approach the ICJ,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

“As a people who once tasted the bitter fruits of dispossession, discrimination, racism and state-sponsored violence, we are clear that we will stand on the right side of history,” Ramaphosa said

But the ICJ will only deliver an opinion on the genocide allegation since the case is not a criminal trial.

Israel has vehemently rejected the accusation as “baseless”. Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said “The State of Israel will appear before the International Court of Justice to dispel South Africa’s absurd blood libel, as Pretoria gives political and legal cover to the Hamas rapist regime.”

The crackdown on Gaza by Israel began on Oct. 7 when militants of the Islamist group Hamas killed 1,200 people in a cross-border attack on Israel and seized 240 hostages by Israel’s count.


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