Gazan's future depends on decision of International Court of Justice: South Africa

Thu, 11 Jan 2024 13:05 GMT
Genocide case 'underscores very essence of our shared humanity,' South Africa's delegation tells top UN court.
Gazan's future depends on decision of International Court of Justice: South Africa

Delegation demands ICJ immediately impose provisional measures as it 'did not hesitate' in case of genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

South Africa on Thursday demanded the International Court of Justice (ICJ) impose provisional measures on Israel to halt its assault on Gaza.

At a hearing of its genocide case against Israel in The Hague, the South African delegation said: "The future of the Palestinians who are still in Gaza depends on the decision this court will make on this matter."

The delegation underlined that the mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza formed a "calculated pattern of conduct by Israel indicating a genocidal intent."

Adila Hassim, one of the delegation's lawyers, underscored at the hearing that the genocide case "underscores the very essence of our shared humanity as expressed in the preamble to the Genocide Convention."

Stressing that genocides are "never declared in advance," Hassim said: "But this court has the benefit of the past 13 weeks of evidence that shows incontrovertibly, a pattern of conduct and related intention that justifies a plausible claim of genocidal acts."

The delegation also demanded the ICJ not hesitate to impose provisional measures, as it "did not hesitate" in the case of the genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, asserting that the situation in Gaza also deserves court intervention.

Public hearings in the genocide case against Israel began on Thursday at ICJ in The Hague.

On the first day of the trial, South Africa will be presenting hard evidence in the case it filed on Dec. 29, accusing Israel of genocide and violation of the UN Genocide Convention with its actions in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7.

The South African side is requesting an injunction by the top UN court to halt Israel's military assault on Gaza, which has dragged on for more than three months, with the death toll rising to over 23,300.

The 84-page filing by South Africa accuses Israel of acts and omissions "genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent … to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group."

It said Israel's genocidal acts include the killing of Palestinians, causing them serious bodily and mental harm, mass expulsion from homes and displacement, imposing measures intended to prevent Palestinian births, and deprivation of access to adequate food, water, shelter, sanitation, and medical assistance.

The South African delegation is being led by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola and will be joined by senior political figures from progressive political parties and movements across the globe.

Thursday's hearing is set to last three hours and will be followed by Israel's arguments in its defense the next day.


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