WATCH: World’s eyes on SA as it appeals for end of alleged genocide in Gaza
South Africa filed an urgent case against Israel at the ICJ, accusing the state of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
The case will be heard on Thursday and Friday. Picture: iStock
The eyes of the world will be on South Africa as it appeals to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to consider whether Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
South Africa filed an urgent case against Israel at the ICJ last month. The case will be heard on Thursday and Friday.
The move, which has been lauded by many, comes after nearly three months of continuous Israeli bombardment.
Watch Palestinians gathered at the Nelson Mandela square in Ramallah, singing the South Africa’s national anthem ahead of the ICJ hearing
Palestinians gathered at the #NelsonMandela square in Ramallah, singing the #SouthAfrican🇿🇦 national anthem ahead of the #ICJ hearing at the Hague tomorrow. #Gratitude #Solidarity #Humanrights #CEASEFIRE_NOW pic.twitter.com/1cqAN8XeyB— Clayson Monyela (@ClaysonMonyela) January 10, 2024
The case is one of at least three that Israel is potentially facing as its actions against Hamas come increasingly into the crosshairs of international law.
South Africa has asked the court to issue several orders: for Israel to “immediately suspend” its Gaza offensive; to stop forced displacement; to enable humanitarian access to thousands of displaced Palestinians; and to preserve evidence.
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola is leading South Africa’s delegation to the Peace Palace in the Hague, where international law expert John Dugard is expected to lead government’s legal arguments in the court battle.
The rest of South Africa’s legal team includes Max du Plessis, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Adila Hassim, Sarah Pudifin-Jones, Lerato Zikalala and Tshidiso Ramogale.
The two-day hearing will be presided over by a bench of 15 permanent judges of the ICJ.
On Friday, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke will join the bench of judges in an ad hoc capacity. Aharon Barak, who served as president of the Supreme Court from 1995 to 2006, will represent Israel.
South Africa’s decision to bring Israel to the ICJ for alleged genocidal acts in Gaza has garnered support from nations such as Türkiye, Malaysia, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Belgium, Spain and the Arab League.
Israel has rejected the allegation of genocide, calling it “baseless.”
“This order lacks both a factual and a legal basis, and constitutes a despicable and contemptuous exploitation of the court. South Africa has cooperated with a terrorist organisation that has been calling for the destruction of Israel,” the Israeli foreign ministry said.
South Africa will present oral arguments from 10am until 1pm on Thursday, while Israel will makes its case at the same time on Friday.
The death toll in Gaza has soared to more than 23 200 people, about 70% of them women and children, while 59 167 have been injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.