NewsSouth Africa spearheads legal battle against Israel, alleging genocide in Gaza conflict

South Africa spearheads legal battle against Israel, alleging genocide in Gaza conflict

View of the damage after the Israeli raid on a house near the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the city of Dajr al-Balah in Gaza.
View of the damage after the Israeli raid on a house near the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the city of Dajr al-Balah in Gaza.
Images source: © Getty Images | 2024 Anadolu
2:58 PM EST, January 11, 2024

Hearings will commence on Thursday in The Hague, during which the Republic of South Africa will present arguments in favor of its claim that Israel committed genocide.

The representatives from Cape Town aim to demonstrate a violation of international regulations, ordained by the UN General Assembly in Paris in 1948. These regulations were put in place to prevent and punish the crime of genocide. South Africa asserts that these regulations were breached during the military campaign in Gaza.

The conflict, which commenced on October 7, 2023, has resulted in over 23,000 Palestinian deaths and injured over 59,000, with women and children largely making up the casualties.

The Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that Thursday's event in The Hague commences the legal battle before the International Court of Justice under the UN's jurisdiction. The convention designates genocide as "acts committed with an intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group."

Both Israel and the Republic of South Africa are signatories to the convention. South Africa has chosen a legal response to the conflict, with the belief that its history of overcoming apartheid gives it the pertinence to do so. It has long contested Israel's practices in the blockaded Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The trial begins in The Hague: South Africa accuses Israel of genocide in Gaza

That's why an 84-page lawsuit has been submitted to the International Court. The lawsuit outlines the devastating effects of the attack on Gaza, touching upon the hardship of people deprived of basic survival necessities - water, food, medicine, fuel, shelter, and other forms of humanitarian aid.

The document portrays the consequences of Israel's extensive airstrike campaign in Gaza. The military operations led to the destruction of buildings, leaving millions homeless and forcing many into exile.

"Israel's actions and omissions are genocidal, aiming to annihilate a significant portion of the Palestinian national, racial, and ethnic group residing in Gaza," states the lawsuit filed by the Republic of South Africa.

There won't be any witness testimonies during the January 11 and 12 hearings. Each country, South Africa and Israel, will be allocated two hours to put forward their cases. Arguments will be presented by appointed lawyers, but the primary objective of this week's activities is to impose "extraordinary measures" to halt the escalation of military operations.

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