Israel Rejects South Africa’s Genocide Allegations at ICJ

Jan13,2024 #Genocide #ICJ #OCJ #South Africa
International Court of Justice Law Insider

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Published on: January 13, 2024 at 14:55 IST

Israel has refuted allegations of genocide leveled against it by South Africa at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The Israeli government dismissed the accusations as “false” and “grossly distorted,” urging the court to reject South Africa’s request to halt its military operation in Gaza. South Africa filed the lawsuit in December, seeking emergency measures to stop Israel’s offensive, which it claims amounts to a state-led genocide campaign against the Palestinian population.

Israel’s legal adviser, Tal Becker, argued that South Africa’s interpretation of events was misleading and emphasized that if any acts of genocide occurred, they were perpetrated against Israel. Becker contended that Hamas, the militant group in Gaza, seeks genocide against Israel. He asserted that Israel’s actions were in self-defense following a cross-border rampage by Hamas militants.

The 1948 Genocide Convention defines genocide as acts committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. Israel maintained that the court lacked jurisdiction under this convention to order a halt to its military actions in Gaza.

The Court is expected to rule on possible emergency measures later this month, though a decision on the genocide allegations may take years. The ICJ’s decisions are final but not enforceable.

Israeli supporters and Palestinian backers gathered separately in The Hague during the court proceedings. While Israel argued that it was defending itself against Hamas, Palestinians in attendance disputed this claim, emphasizing the humanitarian crisis resulting from the conflict. South Africa, historically aligned with the Palestinian cause, rejected accusations that it was acting as a mouthpiece for Hamas.

The Court proceedings have drawn attention to the ongoing tensions in the region, with both sides presenting their perspectives on the situation.

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