La Jornada – “A new and horrific phase” of Israeli “genocide”: South Africa before the International Court of Justice

La Jornada – “A new and horrific phase” of Israeli “genocide”: South Africa before the International Court of Justice

The Hague. South Africa accused Israel on Thursday before the International Court of Justice of intensifying what it called “genocide” in Gaza and asked the court to order a halt to the Israeli attack on Rafah.

Vusimuzi Madonsela announced before the court based in The Hague that “South Africa had hoped, the last time it appeared before this court, that this process of genocide would stop in order to preserve Palestine and its people.”

“Instead, the Israeli genocide has continued and reached a new and horrific phase,” the South African representative added.

Pretoria's lawyers began two days of hearings at the Palace of Justice, the seat of the UN's highest judicial authority, which was asked to order a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Next Friday, it will be Israel's turn to respond, which defends its “unwavering” commitment to international law and asserts that South Africa's allegations are “completely baseless” and “morally repugnant.”

In January, in a case also brought by South Africa, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to do everything in its power to prevent genocide and allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza.

But it did not then demand a ceasefire as did South Africa, which realizes that the situation on the ground and the operation against Rafah require the International Court of Justice to go further.

“As overwhelming evidence shows, the manner in which Israel is deploying its military operations in Rafah and in the rest of Gaza is genocide,” South Africa said in its petition.

He added: “We must order him to stop.”

The decisions of the International Court of Justice are legally binding, but it does not have the means to implement them. For example, the judiciary has vainly demanded that Russia stop its invasion of Ukraine.

South Africa is asking the court to issue three emergency orders (“interim measures” in judicial jargon) while its judges consider the charge that Israel would violate the 1948 UN Genocide Convention.

First, the decision calls on the court to order Israel to “immediately withdraw and cease its military attack” in the city of Rafah, located at the southern end of the Strip.

The resolution also demands that Israel take “all effective measures” to allow “unimpeded access” to Gaza for humanitarian workers, journalists and researchers.

Finally, Pretoria requests that the Court ensure that Israel submits reports on actions taken to comply with these orders.

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