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South Africa accuses Israel of genocide in Gaza before the UN International Court of Justice

South Africa this Thursday he accused Israel before the highest jurisdiction of the UN for violating the Convention for the Prevention of Genocide, stating that not even the massacre perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 justifies the scope of the Israeli campaign in Gaza. “No armed attack on the territory of a State, however serious it may be (…) justifies the violation of the convention”, stated the South African Minister of Justice, Ronald Lamola, before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). ) in The Hague.

“Israel’s response to the October 7 attack crossed this line and gives rise to violations of the convention,” he added.

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Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip have put the population “on the brink of starvation”, added Adila Hassim, South Africa’s lawyer before the court.

“The situation is such that experts predict that more people in Gaza could die from hunger and disease” that due to military actionshe warned.

Palestinian supporters demonstrate during the hearing before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on a genocide complaint brought by South Africa against Israel. (EFE/EPA/ROBIN UTRECHT).

The war between Israel It is Hamas It broke out after the October 7 attack by the Palestinian Islamic movement on Israeli soil, which left around 1,140 people dead, most of them civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data. Among the dead are more than 300 soldiers.

In response, Israel He promised to “annihilate” Hamas and constantly bombs this Palestinian enclave, under a tight siege.

More than 23,350 people, mainly women and minors, have died, the Hamas Health Ministry said Wednesday.

Pretoria appealed ICJ to urge Israel to “immediately suspend military operations” in the Gaza Strip.

The State of Israel, which will develop its defense before the court this Friday, stated through its president that South Africa’s accusations are somewhat “atrocious” and “absurd”.

Representatives of Israel present at the International Court of Justice.  (Photo by Remko de Waal/ANP/AFP).

Representatives of Israel present at the International Court of Justice. (Photo by Remko de Waal/ANP/AFP). (REMKO DE WAAL/)

“Specific intent”

South Africa argues that Israel does not fulfill its obligations under the terms of the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocidea 1948 treaty created precisely after the Holocaust, in which the Nazis and their collaborators exterminated six million European Jews.

As a signatory country to the treaty, South Africa could take Israel to the ICJwhich regulates disputes between countries.

In his indictment, South Africa recognizes the “particular weight of responsibility” of accusing Israel of genocide and “unequivocally” condemns Hamas attacks who started the war in Link.

But at the same time, the government in Pretoria claims that Israel’s bombing and ground operations are aimed “specifically… at destroying the Palestinians of Gaza as part of the broader national, racial and ethnic group of Palestinians.”

The governments of Brazil and Colombia expressed their support for South Africa in this action.

The support for the African country by the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was made official on Wednesday after a meeting with the Palestinian ambassador, Ibrahim Alzeben, in Brasília.

For its part, the Colombian government of Gustavo Petro expressed in a statement that it “welcomes the action brought by South Africa against Israel (…) for violating the provisions of the 1948 Genocide Convention”.

“Atrocious and absurd”

From Israel, President Isaac Herzog attacked these accusations.

“There is nothing more atrocious and absurd than this statement,” he said. “We will be in International Court of Justice and we will proudly present our case of self-defense (…) in accordance with international humanitarian law”, he stated.

According to the president, The Israeli military is “doing everything possible in extremely complicated circumstances on the ground to ensure there are no unintended consequences or civilian casualties.”

As this is an emergency procedure, the ICJ could decide in a matter of weeks.

Although their decisions are final and cannot be appealed, countries do not always follow the court’s verdicts, as in the case of Russia, which was ordered by the ICJ to end the invasion of Ukraine.

According to Cecily Rose, professor of International Law at Leiden University, in the Netherlands, in this first phase the court does not need to rule on the merits of the case, something that will probably take years.

“The court will only be assessing whether there is a risk of irreparable damage to the rights enshrined in Genocide Conventionin particular the right of Palestinians in Gaza to be protected from acts that threaten their existence as a group,” Rose explained to AFP.

Source: Elcomercio

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