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ICJ Judges Delivers Verdict on South Africa's Genocide Case Against Israel - (Video)

Session Starts at 35:50 Minute

By: ATN News

The Hague: — The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague has rendered a pivotal ruling on the genocide case brought against Israel by South Africa, addressing allegations of state-led genocide in the Gaza Strip. While the court ordered Israel to intensify efforts to safeguard civilians, it refrained from mandating a cessation of military operations in the region.

On Friday, the presiding judge acknowledged the unfolding human tragedy in the Gaza Strip, expressing deep concern over the ongoing loss of life and human suffering. The court issued a directive for Israel to employ all measures within its power to prevent genocide, coupled with a requirement to submit a detailed report on the implementation of these measures within one month.

The court deliberated on nine measures, with one notable order compelling Israel to suspend its military operations in Gaza. However, the ruling did not address the central accusation by South Africa regarding whether Israel is committing genocide in the Palestinian enclave. Instead, the focus was on measures intended to "protect against further harm to the rights of the Palestinian people" under the Genocide Convention.

The provisional measures, described as an emergency order, were requested by South Africa and include a mandate for Israel to provide reports to the court outlining actions taken to prevent genocide. These measures could be implemented before a final ruling on the main case, a process anticipated to span years. Despite the ICJ's rulings being binding, it lacks a mechanism for enforcement.

South Africa's Allegations and Israel's Defense

South Africa contends that Israel's actions breach the United Nations Genocide Convention, alleging a deliberate effort to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial, and ethnic group. The accusations include causing harm to Palestinians in Gaza and inflicting conditions calculated to bring about their physical destruction.

In response, Israel's lawyer, Tal Becker, dismissed South Africa's case as a "profoundly distorted factual and legal picture," characterizing it as a decontextualized and manipulative description of reality. Becker presented images of a brutal Hamas terror attack, asserting that any acts resembling genocide were perpetrated against Israel.

Becker denied that Israel's operations targeted Gaza's citizens, emphasizing the army's aim to protect its people from multifaceted attacks. Israel, vowing to annihilate the Islamist movement Hamas following attacks that claimed 1,140 lives, launched an offensive in Gaza. The conflict, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, has resulted in at least 25,900 casualties.

The United States, Israel's strongest ally, has opposed South Africa's case, while select European Union members and Britain have refrained from endorsing it. The ICJ, also known as the World Court, stands as the singular international tribunal adjudicating general disputes between nations.


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