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Eyes on The Hague ahead of ICJ ruling on Gaza Genocide

by Zahid Jadwat

All eyes will be on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, on Friday. The top court of the United Nations is expected to deliver a ruling on South Africa’s genocide case against Apartheid Israel, two weeks and some 5 000 civilian deaths later.

Earlier in January, lawyers on SA’s legal team, led by Adila Hassim SC, presented a strong case before the court. In seeking emergency measures, the team had to convince the 17-judge panel that such measures were necessary “to protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people under the Genocide Convention”.

The terrorist regime of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, propped by its backers in the White House and Downing Street, has spent 12 weeks flattening the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Defence [Occupation] Force (IDF) has struck the densely-populated enclave from air, land and sea in a never-ending bombardment that has killed no fewer than 25 700 Palestinians.


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International backing

More than 100 countries have publicly demonstrated support for the case. This reflects a growing trend of sympathy with the Palestinian cause on the ground, amidst Israel’s tyranny in the Gaza Strip.

International relations minister Dr Naledi Pandor will be present at the Peace Palace in The Hague when the panel delivers its response to the two-day hearings. During a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, her counterparts from other countries expressed support for the case.

Ahmed Attaf, foreign minister of Algeria, said SA and Chile needed to be recognised for taking the right steps to hold Israel accountable. The latter recently made a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over possible crimes.

“All of these initiatives deserve recognition and support because they represent a step in the right direction. We call on the various bodies, these international judicial bodies, to uphold their responsibilities and to implement their mandate,” he said.

His Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, echoed public sentiment when he suggested respect for international law was at stake.

“The situation in Gaza and the West Bank clearly demonstrates who needs security and the right to self-defence most. Israel commits serious war crimes. Those responsible must be held accountable, to restore faith in international law and a rules-based order,” he told the Council.

Among the nine orders filed to the court, SA sought an order that would direct Apartheid Israel to cease all military operations in Gaza. It claimed Israel was in breach of the Geneva Convention and committing genocide in Gaza. The court may grant provisional measures, provided the legal team presented a compelling case that Palestinians faced imminent risk.

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