South Africa files genocide case against Israel at Internati

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ASPartOfMe
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28 Jan 2024, 7:20 am

‘Israel’s supporters have been put on notice’, say experts on ICJ verdict

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The interim orders issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to Israel amid its war on Gaza on Friday are significant, but their immediate implications are “limited” say some experts.

he ICJ also noted its grave concern over the fate of the Israelis taken captive by Hamas during its raid into Israel on October 7 and called for their immediate release.

While South Africa has claimed that those instructions implicitly translate as a call for an immediate ceasefire, Israel has pointed to the absence of that specific wording and has confirmed that it will continue its three-month-long campaign against Gaza.

“Really, the only body that can stop Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is Israel,” said Gerry Simpson, professor of law at the London School of Economics. “However, this does make it even more difficult for [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu to confidently claim to be defending the West and the rules-based order.”

Pressure mounting on Israel’s allies
While a final ruling may still take years, the court has found that South Africa’s charges of genocide contain merit, and cannot, therefore, be dismissed as baseless by Israel and its international backers.

Critically, the ruling raises the possibility that Tel Aviv’s allies in Washington, London and the European Union could even face the prospect of being implicated in having aided and abetted genocide at some future date.

Friday’s judgement will also likely carry implications beyond those specified in court, Simpson said. “This also speaks to how the public sees the war. No matter where you get your information, there’s always the suspicion of bias in the reporting. This preliminary judgement offers something different. This is a judicial verdict based on a good faith reading of the facts.”

Interpretations of the court’s findings are already polarising much of the political community. While South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor hailed it as little short of a triumph, others appeared less delighted.

A case for genocide is ‘plausible’
While Israel’s emphasis that no specific mention was made of a ceasefire was predictable, other items were less likely to feature in Tel Israel’s public account of the judgement.

“The way that South Africa and others will interpret the order is also that Israel’s supporters have basically been put on notice,” Antonios Tzanakopoulos, professor of public international law at Oxford University, said.

“The ICJ has found that the case of genocide is at least plausible. Therefore, if third-party states continue to provide Israel with money and weapons, they now do so knowing they may be aiding and abetting genocide, which all signatories of the convention are prevented from doing,” he said.

Though it stopped short of accusing Israel of committing genocide, Italy halted all shipments of weapons to Israel after the October 7 Hamas attacks, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani announced a week ago.

“This is what we mean by enforcement,” Tzanakopoulos said. “States aren’t physical things. You can’t send them to prison. But the kind of pressure that judgements like this bring, and the actions of states like Italy, make it more difficult to cooperate with Israel,” he said.

Under the terms of the 1948 Genocide Convention, all states have a binding obligation not only to refrain from complicity in genocide but also to prevent it, Katherine Iliopoulos, legal adviser for the MENA programme at the International Commission of Jurists, said.

Iliopoulos pointed to the actions of legal groups already under way, such as those in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, to prevent the export of weapons from their countries to Israel on the basis that they might be used to commit international crimes in Gaza. “Today’s ruling will add to such pressure on these and other countries to immediately stop arms exports to Israel,” she said.

Compliance remains an issue
A definitive ruling in South Africa’s case of genocide against Israel may take years. Moreover, as past preliminary judgements have shown, compliance remains an issue.

The 2022 ruling against Myanmar over its persecution of the Rohingya minority achieved only a partial change in tack, the United Nations noted in August. Moreover, the same year, the ICJ’s judgement against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine was simply shrugged off.

However, this is the first case against a state so closely tied to Western powers, one whose existence to a large part relies upon their provision of arms and diplomatic cover.

To what degree those states may now risk legal hazard could help determine the shape and duration of the war.


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28 Jan 2024, 12:56 pm

Good. I hope a whole lot of heads roll over this one, they deserve it. They probably won't, but.... fingers crossed.



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28 Jan 2024, 1:01 pm

Jono wrote:
BillyTree wrote:
Yesterday the lawyers representing South Africa focused mainly on the facts. Today Israel's representatives focus a lot on rhetorics. The general public is often very susceptible to that kind of tricks - blowing smoke, whataboutism and reframing the context, but I doubt it works on these highly qualified judges. If you cut to the core of the matter I don't think Israel's lawyers put up much of a defence.


Israel's lawyers also provided it's own facts and I'm not sure which incidences of whataboutism that you're talking about. They claimed that they are trying to facilitate aid into Gaza, though I don't think that it's enough as the humanitarian aid organisations say that there's still a looming famine. I hope that the court will take that into account and still ask for provisional measures though.


This is an interesting interaction: each representing their own facts.



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28 Jan 2024, 6:24 pm

Barchan wrote:
Good. I hope a whole lot of heads roll over this one, they deserve it. They probably won't, but.... fingers crossed.

Nailed it - they won't. But it's nice to see Italy take the lead in stopping supplying weapons to Israel. It puts pressure on everyone else to follow suit or risk being labelled as aiding and abetting genocide.

Even better would be if Italy, or any other country, took some sort of action to Prevent genocide - as according to the article all signatory countries are obligated to do. So far no one has done s**t, Canada included.


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28 Jan 2024, 9:37 pm

Jono wrote:
BillyTree wrote:
Yesterday the lawyers representing South Africa focused mainly on the facts. Today Israel's representatives focus a lot on rhetorics. The general public is often very susceptible to that kind of tricks - blowing smoke, whataboutism and reframing the context, but I doubt it works on these highly qualified judges. If you cut to the core of the matter I don't think Israel's lawyers put up much of a defence.


Israel's lawyers also provided it's own facts and I'm not sure which incidences of whataboutism that you're talking about. They claimed that they are trying to facilitate aid into Gaza, though I don't think that it's enough as the humanitarian aid organisations say that there's still a looming famine. I hope that the court will take that into account and still ask for provisional measures though.


It's own facts aka alternative facts aka disinformation.


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28 Jan 2024, 10:05 pm


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29 Jan 2024, 1:52 am

funeralxempire wrote:
Jono wrote:
BillyTree wrote:
Yesterday the lawyers representing South Africa focused mainly on the facts. Today Israel's representatives focus a lot on rhetorics. The general public is often very susceptible to that kind of tricks - blowing smoke, whataboutism and reframing the context, but I doubt it works on these highly qualified judges. If you cut to the core of the matter I don't think Israel's lawyers put up much of a defence.


Israel's lawyers also provided it's own facts and I'm not sure which incidences of whataboutism that you're talking about. They claimed that they are trying to facilitate aid into Gaza, though I don't think that it's enough as the humanitarian aid organisations say that there's still a looming famine. I hope that the court will take that into account and still ask for provisional measures though.


It's own facts aka alternative facts aka disinformation.


Is it though? To me, it looks like no different from any other court case where the two side present their own evidence in favour. The judges or jury have to decide the truth from the evidence given by both sides.



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29 Jan 2024, 2:33 am

Jono wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
It's own facts aka alternative facts aka disinformation.


Is it though? To me, it looks like no different from any other court case where the two side present their own evidence in favour. The judges or jury have to decide the truth from the evidence given by both sides.


Yes, it will be disinformation, at least based on previous patterns of behaviour.


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29 Jan 2024, 4:40 am

funeralxempire wrote:

The caveat is like the YouTubers I am not an expert on the ICJ.

Pro-Palestinians have been celebrating the decision while Israelis have been screaming bloody murder. I did not interpret this as a clean defeat for Israel at all but at most one of those compromises that tries to satisfy both sides. I fully expected them to "order" a ceasefire and expected them to urge a full boycott of Israel. While a boycott is probably out of their purview, as mentioned in the video so is Hamas yet they urged them to release the hostages.

I understand why Palestinian supporters would try to spin this as a victory because that is how politics works but IMHO the Israelis are failing to look a gift horse in the mouth.

I don't think uncomfortable questions from reporters or a resolution that gets a few votes in Congress, or even some state and local prosecutors bringing charges is going to make Israel comply. It will be a change in Israeli or American public opinion that will do that.


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16 Feb 2024, 4:37 pm

Top UN court rejects South African request for urgent measures to safeguard Rafah

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The top UN court on Friday rejected a South African request to impose urgent measures to safeguard Rafah in the Gaza Strip, but also stressed that Israel must respect earlier measures imposed late last month at a preliminary stage in a landmark genocide case.

The International Court of Justice said in a statement that the “perilous situation” in Rafah “demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures" that it ordered Jan. 26.

It said no new order was necessary because the existing measures “are applicable throughout the Gaza Strip, including in Rafah.”

The world court added that Israel “remains bound to fully comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention” and the Jan. 26 ruling which ordered Israel to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide in Gaza.

South Africa announced Tuesday that it had lodged an “ urgent request ” with the International Court of Justice to consider whether Israel’s military operations targeting the southern Gaza city of Rafah breach provisional orders the court handed down last month in a case alleging genocide.

South African foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said in a message on X, formerly Twitter, that the court “has affirmed our view that the perilous situation demands immediate & effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the Court in its Order of 26 January 2024 which are applicable throughout the #GazaStrip & has clarified that this includes #Rafah.”

The court's statement was issued on the Jewish sabbath, when government offices are closed, and there was no immediate comment from the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

On Thursday, Israel urged the world court to reject what it called South Africa’s “highly peculiar and improper” request.


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19 Feb 2024, 9:43 am

At World Court, Palestinians demand end to Israeli occupation

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Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki demanded an immediate end to Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories at the start of hearings on Monday into the legal status of the occupation at the United Nations' top court.

More than 50 states will present arguments before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague until Feb. 26, following a 2022 request from the U.N. General Assembly for an advisory, or non-binding, opinion

Al-Maliki accused Israel of subjecting Palestinians to decades of discrimination and apartheid - accusations Israel has rejected - arguing that they had been left with the choice of "displacement, subjugation, or death".

"The only solution consistent with international law is for this illegal occupation to come to an immediate, unconditional and total end," he said.

The ICJ's 15-judge panel has been asked to review Israel's "occupation, settlement and annexation ... including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures."

The judges are expected to take roughly six months to issue an opinion on the request, which also asks them to consider the legal status of the occupation and its consequences.


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19 Feb 2024, 10:58 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
At World Court, Palestinians demand end to Israeli occupation
Quote:
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki demanded an immediate end to Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories at the start of hearings on Monday into the legal status of the occupation at the United Nations' top court.

More than 50 states will present arguments before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague until Feb. 26, following a 2022 request from the U.N. General Assembly for an advisory, or non-binding, opinion

Al-Maliki accused Israel of subjecting Palestinians to decades of discrimination and apartheid - accusations Israel has rejected - arguing that they had been left with the choice of "displacement, subjugation, or death".

"The only solution consistent with international law is for this illegal occupation to come to an immediate, unconditional and total end," he said.

The ICJ's 15-judge panel has been asked to review Israel's "occupation, settlement and annexation ... including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures."

The judges are expected to take roughly six months to issue an opinion on the request, which also asks them to consider the legal status of the occupation and its consequences.


This has nothing to do with South Africa's case against Israel at the ICJ. It's a separate case where the UN General Assembly asked for an advisory opinion on the occupied West Bank. Unlike the contentious cases, like what South Africa brought against Israel, advisory opinions are non-binding.



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12 May 2024, 9:32 am

Egypt says to join South Africa ICJ genocide case against Israel

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Egypt announced on Sunday its intention to formally intervene to support South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) amid the ongoing Gaza war.

The Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement that the move comes in light of the “worsening severity and scope of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

It added that the decision was made amid the systematic Israeli practices and attacks that have prompted people to eventually displace and leave their land, creating “an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.”

Countries like Turkey and Colombia had previously expressed their interest in joining South Africa’s case against Israel.

The Egyptian announcement was made after Israel this week defied international cries by entering eastern areas of Rafah, which borders Egypt and seized the nearby crossing that is the main conduit for aid into the besieged Palestinian territory.

Egyptian media on Saturday reported that the country informed Israel that it refused to coordinate with it on the entry of aid into Gaza from the Rafah crossing, due to Israel’s “unacceptable escalation.”

Egypt on Sunday called on Israel to adhere to its international commitments and to ensure that aid is getting through to those in need and that Israeli forces “are not committing any violations against the Palestinian people.”

It also called on the UN Security Council and countries of influence to take actions to reach a ceasefire in Gaza and halt military operations in Rafah, according to the statement.


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17 May 2024, 6:48 am

Rafah offensive is ‘Israeli endgame to destroy Gaza,’ South Africa alleges at ICJ

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Accusing Israel of seeking to “destroy Palestinian life and to wipe them off the face of the earth,” South Africa on Thursday demanded that the International Court of Justice order Israel to cease not only its military operation in the southern Gazan city of Rafah but its entire campaign against the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip.

During two and a half hours of oral argument, the seven-member team of South African and international lawyers and jurists repeatedly sought to pressure the court to order an end to Israel’s operations against Hamas, claiming that Israel had ignored previous court orders and implying that the court would appear futile if it did not act.

The ICJ hearings were called after South Africa asked for emergency measures from the court to protect Rafah, after it earlier alleged that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in the coastal enclave.

The request was South Africa’s fourth application to the court since Jerusalem declared war against Hamas following the terror group’s brutal onslaught against Israeli civilians on October 7.

South African jurists argued Thursday that the current IDF operation in Rafah will make life in Gaza untenable due to the already severe humanitarian situation in the territory, the lasting widespread destruction in other parts of the Strip, and the importance of the Rafah goods crossing in supplying Gaza with aid.

A full Israeli assault on Rafah would violate the clause of the Genocide Convention which prohibits “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” Pretoria argued.

Although the application filed last week requested an order from the court only to instruct Israel to halt the operation in Rafah, South Africa amended that request and asked the court to order Israel to stop all military operations in Gaza.

he South African delegation also asked for orders compelling Israel to provide “unimpeded access to Gaza for humanitarian aid” and for investigators and fact-finding missions to investigate allegations of war crimes and genocide.

Finally, the South African team asked that the court instruct Israel to provide a public report within one week on the measures it was taking to implement its orders.

“Israel’s genocide has continued apace since the last court hearing and has just reached a new and horrific stage,” South Africa Ambassador to the Netherlands Vusimuzi Madonsela alleged.

Prof. Vaughan Lowe, who had also represented South Africa in its January application, claimed that it was “increasingly clear” that Israel’s actions in Rafah were designed to achieve its “end game for Gaza to be utterly destroyed as an area of human habitation,” invoking the prohibition in the Genocide Convention on creating conditions designed to destroy life.

In what appeared to be a deliberate tactic of the South African representatives, Lowe warned the court that absent an order for Israel to cease its military campaign, “the possibility of rebuilding a viable Palestinian society in Gaza will be destroyed.”

The comments were echoed by others on South Africa’s legal team.

“From the onset, Israel’s intent was always to destroy Palestinian life and to wipe them off the face of the earth. Rafah is the final stand,” said Tembeka Ngcukaitobi.

The South African team paid particular focus to the issue of humanitarian aid because of the Genocide Convention’s prohibition on creating conditions designed to destroy a group of people, and alleged that Israel had “choked off” all access to the Gaza Strip through its operation in Rafah.

“Israel must be stopped. South Africa is before you again today to respectfully ask the court to invoke its powers… to order a remedy that will stop Israel,” said Adila Hassim, another lawyer for South Africa.

In order to try and establish genocidal intent by Israel against Gazans, a critical necessity for the court to be able to act, Ngcukaitobi cited inflammatory comments by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who was quoted by Haaretz at the end of April as saying, “There are no half-measures. Rafah, Deir al-Balah, Nusseirat – total annihilation.”

The tactic echoed one used by South Africa in the January hearings first seeking the ICJ’s intervention, and which the court itself noted in its decision to issue orders against Israel.

In another similarity to the January hearings, Ngcukaitobi played a video of IDF soldiers before entering the southern Gazan city of Rafah praying and then singing, “We will dismantle Rafah.”

Numerous videos of IDF soldiers operating in Gaza making inflammatory comments and acting improperly have been posted by the soldiers themselves to social media, and have been strongly criticized, including by the IDF itself, although they have continued to emerge throughout the war.

This week’s hearings will only focus on issuing emergency measures and it will likely take years before the court can rule on the underlying charge of genocide.

A ruling is expected next week.


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