South Africa has officially lodged a case with the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing Israel of engaging in “genocidal acts” in Gaza.
The UN court has confirmed the application, citing potential violations of Israel’s obligations under the Genocide Convention.
Israel has vehemently rejected the allegations, dismissing them as “baseless.” The country’s foreign ministry labeled South Africa’s claims as a “blood libel” and expressed disgust at the accusations.
In response to the filing, South Africa’s presidency released a statement emphasizing the nation’s obligation to prevent genocide.
The statement expressed grave concerns over the plight of civilians in Gaza, citing indiscriminate use of force and forcible removal of inhabitants.
The 84-page document submitted to the ICJ contends that Israel’s actions are “genocidal in character” with the intent to destroy a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial, and ethnic group.
The application requests a prompt ICJ hearing and urges the court to indicate several “provisional measures,” including the cessation of all military activities by Israel in Gaza.
Israel’s foreign affairs ministry spokesman, Lior Haiat, condemned South Africa’s claim as a “despicable and contemptuous exploitation” of the court.
He accused South Africa of cooperating with a terrorist organization, referring to Hamas, and emphasized Israel’s commitment to international law.
Tensions between South Africa and Israel have escalated, with South Africa recalling all diplomats from Israel in early November.
The South African National Assembly voted to suspend diplomatic relations with Israel, though the government has not formally responded to the vote.
This is not the first time South Africa has taken legal action against Israel. Previously, the country filed a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC), alleging war crimes in Gaza.
The ICC investigates and tries individuals charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, but Israel does not recognize its authority.
The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, triggered by a Hamas attack in October, has resulted in a significant loss of life in Gaza, with both diplomatic and legal repercussions intensifying on the international stage.