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South Africa v. Israel (Genocide Convention)

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South Africa's genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, the Hague on Friday 12 January 2024.

South Africa v. Israel is a lawsuit filed by Republic of South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands on 29 December 2023. The lawsuit asks the court in principle to provide Provisional measure of protection for the Palestinians who are going through a Genocide.

The lawsuit filed by South Africa asserts that Israel has committed, and is committing, genocidal acts and genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in violation of the Genocide Convention.

The Foreign Ministry of Israel said through diplomatic channels that a ruling against Israel "could have significant potential implications not only in the legal realm but also in practical, bilateral, economic, and security-related aspects."[1]

Proceedings[change | change source]

On December 29, 2023, legal actions began at the International Court of Justice on the basis of Genocide Convention. Both Israel and South Africa had agreed to this convention.[2] The proceedings were started under Article IX of the convention.[3]

The two day hearing of South Africa's case against Israel happened on 11 and 12 January 2024 in which South Africa spoke and gave evidence of its claims on 11 January while Israel justified or tried to prove South Africa's claims as 'baseless' on 12 January.[4][5][6]

The legal submission submitted by South Africa accuses Israel of genocidal actions with clear intent, including mass killings, destruction of homes, expulsion, and displacement of Palestinians in Gaza Strip. The blockade on essential resources like food, water, and medical aid is also highlighted as contributing to the alleged genocidal intent.[7][8] South Africa also stated that statements made by Israeli officials, such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are evidence of Israel's genocidal intent.[9]

First ruling[change | change source]

On 26 January 2024, the International Court of Justice said that South Africa's claims seem possible, and the court will look into the issue. The court decided for now that the proof South Africa gave was enough to show there might be a risk to some of the rights that South Africa is trying to protect. But, the court also said it didn't decide yet whether Israel had broken the Geneva convention.

The court stated, in paragraphs 30 and 54 of the ruling, as follows:[10]

30. ... In the Court’s view, at least some of the acts and omissions alleged by South Africa to have been committed by Israel in Gaza appear to be capable of falling within the provisions of the Convention.[11]

54. In the Court’s view, the facts and circumstances mentioned above are sufficient to conclude that at least some of the rights claimed by South Africa and for which it is seeking protection are plausible. This is the case with respect to the right of the Palestinians in Gaza to be protected from acts of genocide and related prohibited acts identified in Article III, and the right of South Africa to seek Israel’s compliance with the latter’s obligations under the Convention.[10]

Ireland[change | change source]

On March 27, 2024, the government of Ireland announced that it will join the lawsuit of South Africa v. Israel and stated that "restricting food and other essentials in Gaza may constitute genocidal intent".[12]

On March 28, the ICJ stated "that Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine ... but that famine is setting in," and ordered Israel to unblock food aid. The decision was backed by all judges.[13]

Mexico[change | change source]

On May 28, 2024, the Mexican government announced that it would join the South Africa's genocide case against Israel.[14]

Chile[change | change source]

On June 1, 2024, President Gabriel Boric announced during the annual address to Congress that Chile will intervine and support the South African case against Israel.[15]

Spain[change | change source]

On 6 June 2024, Spain announced it was joining the case against Israel[16].

Reactions[change | change source]

  •  Israel: Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel said in response to the first ruling,"The charge of genocide leveled against Israel is not only false, it’s outrageous, and decent people everywhere should reject it".[17]
  •  Palestine: Riyad al-Maliki, Foreign Affairs Minister of the State of Palestine, said that the Court "ruled in favour of humanity and international law".[18]
  •  Hamas: In a statement, the militant group said that,"The (International) Court of Justice's decision is an important development which contributes to isolating Israel and exposing its crimes in Gaza".[19]
  •  Spain: Pedro Sanchez, Prime Minister of Spain said,"We will continue to advocate for peace and an end to war, the release of hostages, access to humanitarian aid and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, so that both nations coexist in peace and security".[18]
  •  European Union: In a statement EU says that,"Orders of the International Court of Justice are binding on the parties and they must comply with them. The European Union expects their full, immediate and effective implementation".[20]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Inside Israel's plan to quash South Africa's Gaza genocide case". Axios. 5 January 2024. Retrieved 22 January 2024.
  2. "South Africa launches case at top UN court accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza". Associated Press. 29 December 2023. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  3. Bhaumik, Aaratrika (11 January 2024). "South Africa's case against Israel at the ICJ: What are the allegations and what can be expected?| Explained". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 12 January 2024.
  4. "Day one of the ICJ genocide hearing against Israel: Key takeaways".
  5. "ICJ genocide case: What are Israel's arguments and do they hold up?". Al Jazeera. 12 January 2024.
  6. "Israel: South African genocide claims at ICJ are baseless". The Jerusalem Post. 11 January 2024. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  7. "South Africa files case at ICJ accusing Israel of 'genocidal acts' in Gaza". Al Jazeera. 29 December 2023.
  8. "In total disregard to South Africa's lawsuit, Israel continues its genocidal war in Gaza". ReliefWeb. 9 January 2024.
  9. "Can South Africa's ICJ case against Israel stop war in Gaza?". Al Jazeera.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Al-Kassab, Fatima (2024-01-26). "A top U.N. court says Gaza genocide is 'plausible' but does not order cease-fire". NPR. Archived from the original on 26 January 2024. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  11. "U.N. Court Says Israel Must Prevent Genocidal Acts in Gaza". TIME. 26 January 2024. Retrieved 2024-01-27.
  12. "Ireland backs bid to include blocking of aid in definition of genocide". The Guardian. 27 March 2024. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  13. "'Famine is setting in': UN court orders Israel to unblock Gaza food aid". The Guardian. 29 March 2024. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  14. "Mexico seeks to join South Africa's genocide case against Israel at ICJ". The Middle East Eye. 28 May 2024. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  15. "Boric anuncia que Chile se hará parte de la demanda que presentó Sudáfrica contra Israel en la CIJ por genocidio". latercera.com. 01 June 2024. Retrieved 02 June 2024. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |access-date= and |date= (help)
  16. Azcoiti, Javier Biosca (2024-06-06). "España se suma al procedimiento contra Israel iniciado por Sudáfrica en la Corte Internacional de Justicia". ElDiario.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 2024-06-06.
  17. "Genocide Charge Against Israel "Outrageous", Says PM Benjamin Netanyahu". NDTV. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "How World Reacted To UN Court Ruling On Israel Genocide Case". NDTV. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  19. "Hamas Says UN Court Ruling 'Contributes To Isolating Israel'". Barrons. 26 January 2024.
  20. Presse, AFP-Agence France (26 January 2024). "EU Says Expects Immediate Implementation Of UN Court Gaza Ruling". Barrons.

Other websites[change | change source]