South Africa Makes its Genocide Case against Israel at The Hague
“For the New Year, Global Solidarity to Save Palestine: Backing South Africa” has had several updates. See some of my initial thoughts on the South African oral arguments here.
Jeremy Scahill reports: “On Thursday, South Africa will present its historic case before the International Court of Justice in the Hague, accusing Israel of conducting an ongoing genocide in Gaza and asking the United Nations court to issue a provisional ruling asserting its jurisdiction and instructing Israel to ‘immediately suspend its military operations in and against Gaza.’ Israel, which has accused South Africa of ‘blood libel,’ will present its defense on Friday.
“The U.S., Israel’s chief sponsor and defender, has dismissed South Africa’s charges as ‘meritless.’ There is a solid, though not certain, likelihood that the court will issue a ruling finding a basis to move forward with actual genocide proceedings against Israel, a legal process that could take years to complete. But South Africa has also argued that the court should issue provisional measures to protect the Palestinians of Gaza against ongoing attacks, citing voluminous evidence that Israel is engaged in ongoing violations of the Genocide Convention. ‘Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza,’ the filing argues.”
See South Africa’s 84-page, heavily footnoted Application to the ICJ, also called the World Court. The Court will hear the case Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time at The Hague and will be viewable online. Progressive International will have a briefing at 1:30 p.m.
CRAIG MOKHIBER, firstname.lastname@example.org, @CraigMokhiber
Mokhiber just co-wrote the piece “A Crack in a 75-year-old Wall of Impunity: South Africa Challenges Israeli Genocide in Court.” He is an International human rights lawyer and former Director of the New York Office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, who stepped down from his post in 2023 and penned a now-viral letter on unfolding genocide and the UN’s failures. See recent interview with him.
His recent piece states: “South Africa’s petition to the ICJ is filled with clear and horrifically compelling examples, identifying Israeli actions that match at least three of the five acts that constitute genocide when linked to specific intent. Those include killing members of the group, causing serious physical or mental harm to members of the group, and, perhaps most indicative of genocidal purpose, creating ‘conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction.’ As South Africa documents, Israel has shown the world, at levels unprecedented in the 21st century, what those conditions look like. For specific intent, South Africa points to dozens of statements made by Israeli leaders, including the President, Prime Minister, and other cabinet officials, as well as Knesset members, military commanders, and more.”
CRAIG MURRAY, email@example.com, @CraigMurrayOrg
Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He has been British Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee. He stated: “I have now arrived in The Hague ahead of the South African case before the ICJ on the Gaza Genocide. It feels like a key moment in history. Has the entire fabric of international law and human rights been completely undermined by the NATO powers?”
He wrote several pieces about the prospect of a country invoking the Genocide Convention before South Africa did so, including “Stopping Genocide,” and “Activating the Genocide Convention.” See relevant IPA news releases.
MARJORIE COHN, firstname.lastname@example.org, @marjoriecohn
Available for interviews beginning Wednesday evening, Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild and dean of the People’s Academy of International Law. She recently wrote the piece “Israel Is Terrified the World Court Will Decide It’s Committing Genocide.”
Cohn reports: “Israel is mounting a full-court press to prevent an ICJ finding that it’s committing genocide in Gaza. On January 4, the Israeli Foreign Ministry instructed its embassies to pressure politicians and diplomats in their host countries to make statements opposing South Africa’s case at the ICJ. …
“Provisional measures can be issued quickly. For example, the ICJ ordered measures 19 days after the Bosnian case was initiated. Provisional measures are binding on the party against whom they are ordered, and compliance with them can be monitored by both the ICJ and the Security Council. Judgments on the merits rendered by the ICJ in disputes between parties are binding on the parties involved. Article 94 of the United Nations Charter provides that ‘each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of [the Court] in any case to which it is a party.’ The judgments of the court are final; there is no appeal.”