South Africa files case at international court accusing Israel of ‘genocidal acts’

South Africa has filed an application instituting proceedings against Israel over “genocidal acts” in Gaza before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The application filed “concerning alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in relation to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” the ICJ said in a press release.

“Acts and omissions by Israel… are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent… to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group,” read the statement.

It added: “The conduct of Israel – through its State organs, State agents, and other persons and entities acting on its instructions or under its direction, control or influence – in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention,” the statement added, citing the application.

South Africa also accused Israel of “failing to prevent genocide” and “prosecuting the direct and public incitement to genocide” in the application.

“Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

It also requested the ICJ to “indicate provisional measures in order to protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people under the Genocide Convention and to ensure Israel’s compliance with its obligations under the Genocide Convention not to engage in genocide, and to prevent and to punish genocide.”

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Israel has rejected South Africa’s move as “baseless,” calling it “blood libel.”

“South Africa’s claim lacks both a factual and a legal basis, and constitutes despicable and contemptuous exploitation of the Court,” Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, Lior Haiat, said in a statement posted on X.

“Israel has made it clear that the residents of the Gaza Strip are not the enemy, and is making every effort to limit harm to the non-involved and to allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip,” the statement added.

Last month South African lawmakers voted in favour of a motion to close the Israeli Embassy in the capital Pretoria and suspend diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.

South Africa, which has not had an ambassador in Israel since 2018, has long backed the Palestinian cause for statehood.

Many Palestinian and international human rights groups have drawn parallels between the Israeli occupation and South Africa’s decades-long apartheid regime.

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