South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order the occupying state of Israel to immediately suspend its deadly genocide campaign in Gaza, where over 23,500 Palestinian civilians have been killed in more than three months of Israeli aggression.
The demand came at the closing of the first day of hearings of a case brought by South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
South Africa presented a meticulously compiled 84-page case to the court, gathering evidence of Israel’s killing of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and creating conditions “conducive to their physical destruction,” constituting a crime of “genocide” against them.
Lamola: Israel has crossed all boundaries
South Africa’s Minister of Justice, Ronald Lamola, emphasized that no armed attack on a state’s territory, regardless of its severity, can justify violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Lamola pointed out that South Africa filed this claim on behalf of the State of Palestine, believing in preventing genocide, emphasizing that what is happening in Gaza contradicts international agreements on the prevention of genocide. He called for an end to the destruction facing Palestine.
Lamola said while delivering his opening statement in the case, “In extending our hands to the people of Palestine, we do so in full knowledge that we are part of a humanity.”
“These were the words of our founding president, Nelson Mandela; this is the spirit in which South Africa acceded to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1998.”
Attorney Adila Hassim: Israeli military offensive pushed Gaza residents to the edge of famine
Adila Hassim, a lawyer from the South African delegation, explained that Israeli military attack in Gaza has pushed residents “to the edge of famine.” She highlighted that the situation has reached a point where experts expect a higher death toll due to hunger and disease.
Hassim stressed the necessity of preventing Israel from continuing genocide and urged the court to study Israel’s crimes and issue a decision to halt genocide against Palestinian citizens.
She presented audible and visual evidence to clarify how Israel violates the Genocide Convention, using unprecedented levels of killing. Hashem emphasized the lack of safe places in Gaza, where tens of thousands have been killed or injured in the past three months, with 70% being women and children.
The lawyer further detailed Israel’s deliberate destruction of homes, infrastructure, and restrictions on aid entry, resulting in a genuine famine on the brink. She showcased videos depicting the desperation of Gaza residents, lacking clothing, shelter, and clean water, facing widespread diseases.
Hassim concluded by stating that Israel’s measures prevent women from giving birth humanely, with 15% facing pregnancy-related issues. Israel also targets humanitarian aid workers, making it challenging to provide assistance to those in need.
Attorney Tembeka Ngcukaitobi: Israeli army actions reflect officials’ instructions
Prominent lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi of the South African delegation shed light on Israeli statements exposing their intent for genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Ngcukaitobi explained that Israeli occupation leaders justify the destruction of Palestinian lives using racist and extremist phrases, such as describing the bombing of an educational facility in Gaza as “a shelter for human animals.”
He continued, stating that some Israeli military leaders express their desire to enter Gaza and destroy everything, targeting homes, using bombs and explosives to destroy entire neighborhoods.
He emphasized that the Israeli army’s actions are based on the instructions of Israeli officials to target families, civilians, and children, providing sufficient evidence to assert that massacres are committed against civilians.
Repeatedly, Ngcukaitobi pointed out that Israeli officials claim there are no innocents in Gaza, and destruction is what they will face.
He affirmed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intent for genocide was clear through incitement to bomb vital facilities and statements calling for the elimination of Gaza. Israeli forces targeted Palestinian journalists, considering women, children, and pregnant women as enemies, turning Gaza into slaughterhouses.
He quotes one Israeli minister calling for the “denial of water and fuel, as this is what will happen to a people of children killers”, and another saying “Israel must find ways for Gazans that are more painful than death”.
Ngcukaitobi highlighted members of the Israeli Likud party considering it normal to discuss views on Gaza’s non-existence, claiming it is the duty of Israeli kibbutz residents to destroy Gaza.
He pointed out that Israel obstructed humanitarian aid, closed all crossings leading to Gaza, and unprecedentedly destroyed the health sector.
International backing for South Africa’s move
Representatives from Jordan, Turkey, Libya, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Venezuela, Namibia, Nicaragua, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation with 57 member states, and the Arab League, in addition to 200 professors and experts in international law, have expressed their support for South Africa’s lawsuit at the International Court.
Over two days, the court will hear South Africa’s justifications for filing the case and Israel’s response. A judgment on urgent measures, expected to include immediate orders for Israel to halt its military operations in Gaza, is anticipated later this month. However, the court will not issue a ruling on genocide charges simultaneously.
South Africa filed the lawsuit against Israel on December 29, accusing it of committing “acts of genocide” against the people of Gaza. The lawsuit revolves around Israel’s obligations under the Genocide Convention, seeking urgent measures to protect Palestinians in Gaza from further harm and ensuring Israel complies with the convention, stopping its military operations immediately.
(Source: WAFA News Network)