Experts who find the evidence in the ‘genocide’ case filed by the Republic of South Africa at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) predict that a decision against Israel will come out from the interim precautionary hearings to be held on 11-12 January, Anadolu Agency reports.
While Israel’s international law violations in Palestinian Territories have been increasing since 7 October, South Africa took a significant step towards stopping the violations by filing a case against Israel on 29 December, 2023, alleging a violation of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Experts evaluated South Africa’s evidence, possible defences by Israel, South Africa’s urgent request for precautionary measures and the impact of preventive measures.
Luigi Daniele from Nottingham Trent University in the UK told Anadolu that a very successful legal team will represent South Africa in front of the ICJ.
“I find South Africa’s application very strong. This is a very solid and well-prepared petition. Of course, this is not a surprise because, among South Africa’s lawyers, John Dugard and other legal experts are very successful individuals and experts in this field,” he said.
Daniele explained that South Africa successfully used the statements of Israeli officials revealing the intention of genocide against Gazans in their petitions, saying, “It is not possible to interpret the statements of Israeli officials other than genocide, as South Africa also mentioned. Israeli officials’ statements cannot be interpreted in any other way.”
Daniele, emphasising that references to the Bible and the Amalek tribe go beyond mere historical and cultural events, revealed the intention of collective punishment against Gazans.
“Some lawyers’ defence, stating, ‘Although the statements of Israeli officials may suggest genocide, they did not actually intend to commit genocide there,’ is the weakest argument I have read so far,” Daniele said.
Professor of International Relations and Politics at the University of Sussex, Martin Shaw, emphasised that Israel’s actions have the potential for genocide, and an intention to annihilate Palestinians can be inferred from them, and then a decision may ultimately be made that they have committed genocide.
“Of course, at this stage, the ICJ will address precautionary measure requests rather than making a final determination on genocide,” he added.
Nimer Sultany, a member of the Law Department and the Centre for Palestine Studies at SOAS University, stated that South Africa’s application lists numerous statements from Israeli state officials and generals expressing genocidal intent.
Sultany pointed out that these statements and actions indicate that Israel has violated its obligations under the Genocide Convention.
“These statements clearly demonstrate that Israel aims to annihilate Gaza or a significant portion of the Palestinian people. In addition, South Africa also shows that Israel acted with genocidal intent in terms of the actions and structure of events,” he said.
What does South Africa allege?
According to its extensive 84-page submission, South Africa asserts that Israel is engaging in genocide by killing Palestinians in Gaza, inflicting severe mental and physical harm upon them, and creating living conditions intended to lead to their physical destruction.
The filing claims that all these actions are directly attributable to Israel, emphasising that Israel has neglected to prevent genocide and is actively committing genocide, thereby flagrantly violating the Genocide Convention.
Additionally, the submission contends that Israel has failed to restrain its officials from inciting genocide, a breach of the convention.