SA presents genocide case against Israel at ICJ

It is all eyes on South Africa today as the country presents its genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands. South Africa is currently on the stand this morning in a legal battle against Israel, which is accused of genocide in Gaza. South Africa approached the ICJ, under the Genocide Convention, for acts committed by Israel in the context of its attacks on Gaza and the case will be represented by six local legal minds. Both South Africa and Israel are expected to lay bare their arguments during the two-day public hearing at the ICJ. The Israel-Palestine war that started in October last year has since claimed thousands of lives and wounded many and will force hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into poverty, according to a United Nations (UN) report. South Africa's Justice Minister, Ronald Lamona, is expected to deliver the opening remarks. Lamola told Al Jazeera that the country has brought the case to the ICJ because 'there is a compelling argu ment that genocide is being committed in Gaza'. 'There is a compelling argument that genocide is being committed in Gaza on the basis that there is an annihilation or cleansing of a civilian population, innocent civilians, children and women that have been displaced [and] the targeting of public infrastructure in Gaza,' Lamola said. In a statement released on Tuesday, the Minister said the South African government was determined to see the end of the genocide that is currently taking place in Gaza. 'We are most encouraged by leaders of the world who have not blunted their consciousness and have stood on the right side of history by supporting a case that seeks to protect the rights of human beings, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity,' he added. Lamola is leading the South African delegation, comprising of local diplomats and officials. These include the Director-General in the Presidency Phindile Baleni, Director-General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation Zane Dangor, and Director-General of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and former Deputy Ambassador for South Africa to the United Nations, Advocate Doctor Mashabane. Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa, said the country approached the court due to its opposition to the ongoing slaughter of the people of Gaza. The President said this as he was delivering of the eulogy speech at Dr Peter Magubane's Provincial Official Funeral in Johannesburg. 'As a people who once tasted the bitter fruits of dispossession, discrimination, racism and state-sponsored violence, we are clear that we will stand on the right side of history. It is our fervent hope that just as we were able to reconcile and make peace, that the peoples of Israel and Palestine will find a lasting, just peace,' the President added. The ICJ is the is the principal judicial organ of the UN, which was established in 1945 by the Charter of the UN and began work the following year. The court's role is to settle and give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorised UN organs and specialised agencies. The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the Security Council. - Source: South African Government News Agency