ISRAEL | A Gaza Genocide?

In December 2023, South Africa initiated proceedings against Israel at the International Court of Justice under the Genocide Convention, alleging that Israel's actions in Gaza amounted to a deliberate policy of extermination against the Palestinian people.

In response, Israel has vehemently denied these accusations, asserting that its actions were justified self-defence measures in response to the deadly attacks by Hamas on 7 October 2023.

Under the 1948 Genocide Convention, any country can bring a case against another state. Following the start of Israel’s war against Hamas, which has already led to the deaths of over 23,000 Palestinians and seen almost 2 million displaced, South Africa brought a case against Israel, also calling for provisional measures to halt the fighting.

The case has generated international debate, with some countries supporting South Africa's claim and others, especially in the West, dismissing it. Having heard the two sides on 11 and 12 January 2024, the Court is expected to issue a ruling on provisional measures in the coming weeks to determine if Israel's actions may contravene the Genocide Convention.

However, the final ruling on whether Israel has violated the Genocide Convention could take several years. If the ICJ rules against Israel, it could lead to further actions at the United Nations, including resolutions in the Security Council and General Assembly.

In the meantime, Israel is challenging the Court's credibility and will likely claim political motivation if the ruling goes against it, which could have significant implications for its reputation. However, the ICJ's decision could also pose challenges for countries that support Israel, as they must decide whether to condemn Israel or reject the court's ruling, potentially affecting the ICJ's legitimacy as the principal legal organ of the UN.

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