UN top court to hear genocide case against Israel next week

AFP , Ahram Online , Thursday 4 Jan 2024

The UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hear submissions next week from South Africa and Israel after Pretoria opened a case for Israel's genocidal acts in Gaza.

FILE - Smoke rises following an Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. AP


The ICJ "will hold public hearings at the Peace Palace in The Hague... in proceedings instituted by South Africa against Israel," on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 January, the court said in a statement.

The South African application, filed last Friday, related to alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Genocide Convention, saying that "Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza."

South Africa, amongst other urgent measures, is asking the court to order that "Israel shall immediately suspend its military operations in and against Gaza" and that both countries "take all reasonable measures within their power to prevent genocide."

Israel's ongoing war on Gaza has killed more than 22,300 people, mostly women and children.

South Africa will present its arguments on Thursday of next week, while Israel is set to counter on Friday.

A ruling by the ICJ on the request for emergency measures is expected to follow within weeks, but the case proper could still take months or even years.

Decisions are legally binding, but the court has little power to enforce them.

The US claimed that it is “not seeing any acts that constitute genocide” in Gaza, referring to South Africa’s case against Israel. In a news briefing on Wednesday, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said, “Those are allegations that should not be made lightly ... we are not seeing any acts that constitute genocide … That is a determination by the state department.”

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