South Africa charges Israel before World Court for genocide of Palestinians

The Republic of South Africa (RSA) instituted proceedings against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the latter’s genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Citing violations by Israel of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention), South Africa filed the petition last Friday, December 29, at the ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

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.”

RSA’s petition added that “the conduct of Israel — through its State organs, State agents, and other persons and entities acting on its instructions or under its direction, control or influence — in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention.”

South Africa said that Israel, since 7 October 2023 in particular, has failed to prevent genocide and has failed to prosecute the direct and public incitement to genocide,” adding further that “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa also announced his government’s petition on his office’s official X (formerly Twitter) account.

The ICJ, popularly called the World Court, is a civil tribunal that hears disputes between countries. It is distinct from the International Criminal Court which is a criminal tribunal that prosecute individuals. Both are based in The Hague, The Netherlands.

The ongoing hostilities in Gaza started last October 27 when Hamas fighters attacked Israelis in a massive operation that killed hundreds, including 4 Filipinos working and residing in the region.

Israel’s ongoing retaliation to the attack has resulted in more than 20,000 Palestinians casualties, including 8,000 children and 6,200 women as of December 20.

Popular global opinion however blames the zionist movement for its illegal occupation of Palestine, a claimed backed by several UN resolutions since 1948.

In its application against Israel, South Africa requested the Court to indicate provisional measures in order to “protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people under the Genocide Convention.”

Israel must comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention not to engage in genocide, and to prevent and to punish genocide, it added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)