South Africa has informed the ICJ that since October 7, 2023, “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza”.
Venu Rajamony, Professor of Diplomatic Practice, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India; Former Ambassador of India to the Netherlands, with responsibility for the ICJ.
On December 29, 2023, South Africa filed in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), The Hague, an application instituting proceedings against Israel. The petition alleged that Israel has violated its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the “Genocide Convention”) in relation to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
According to the application, “acts and omissions by Israel . . . are 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”. South Africa sought the Court’s jurisdiction on Article 36, paragraph 1, of the Statute of the Court and on Article IX of the Genocide Convention, to which both South Africa and Israel are parties.
South Africa has informed the ICJ that since October 7, 2023, “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza”. It has sought provisional measures to “protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people under the Genocide Convention”.
The ICJ stipulates that any request for the indication of provisional measures must have priority over all other cases. The ICJ promptly titled the case “Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v Israel)” and scheduled public hearings on the matter on January 11-12. South Africa and Israel both presented their arguments before the Court, which has now adjourned for deliberations. It is expected that a date will soon be announced for its decision on provisional measures.
The 15-judge ICJ, which represents all major regions and legal jurisdictions of the world, has been a strong supporter of victims of human rights violations, especially at the stage of provisional measures. Its orders in the case filed in 2019 by Gambia on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) against Myanmar over the Rohingya issue and the Jhadav case filed by India in 2017 against Pakistan are examples.
Published in: The Indian Express
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