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South Africa: Genocide case against the State of Israel strongly articulated at the Hague

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On the first of two days of legal arguments at the International Court of Justice, South Africa’s Justice Minister presented his country’s case against Israel whom they accuse of genocide in its war in Gaza.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said Thursday that Israel’s response to the 7th of October 2023 attack had crossed a line “and gives rise to the breaches of the convention.”

South Africa launched its case at the United Nations’ top court in November and has asked the ICJ to order an immediate halt to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. 

The case centres on the 1948 Genocide Convention, which both South Africa and Israel are signatories to.

South African lawyer Adila Hassim argued that Israel’s conduct violated articles 2A, 2B, 2C, and 2D of the convention.

“The first genocidal act committed by Israel is the mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza, in violation of article 2A of the Genocide Convention,” she said.

South Africa has been highly critical of Israel’s military operations in Gaza since the war began, with lawmakers voting in November to suspend diplomatic ties until a ceasefire is agreed.

The Israeli offensive has killed more than 23,200 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. About two-thirds of those killed are women and children.

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