At World Court, South Africa says genocide ongoing in Gaza

The International Court of Justice sitting during public hearings on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa against Israel in January. Picture: UN Photo/ICJ-CIJ/Frank van Beek

The International Court of Justice sitting during public hearings on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa against Israel in January. Picture: UN Photo/ICJ-CIJ/Frank van Beek

Published May 19, 2024


As South Africa returned to the International Court of Justice to stop the Gaza war a group lawyers want the ANC to be investigated for allegedly receiving bribes from Iran.

At least 35 386 Palestinians have been killed and 79 366 have been wounded in Israel's military offensive on Gaza since October 7, the Gaza health ministry said yesterday.

"Israel's genocide has continued apace and has just reached a new and horrific stage," South Africa's Ambassador Vusimuzi Madonsela told judges at the International Court of Justice.

Interrelations and co-operation director-general, Zane Dangor, says South Africa’s latest International Court of Justice (ICJ) application seeks an explicit order to force Israel to stop its genocidal acts in Rafah and Gaza in Palestine.

The country returned to the ICJ in Geneva, Switzerland this week for the third time to ask for provisional orders against Israel.

“The court must explicitly state that Israel must stop its genocidal acts in Rafah, that it must stop its genocidal acts in Gaza,” Dangor said.

On Thursday, Israeli daily newspaper The Jerusalem Post reported that a group of 160 lawyers, led by the Israel Law Centre – Shurat HaDin, have called on US secretary of state Antony Blinken, the justice department and congressional leaders to probe South African leaders.

They reportedly want the ANC to be probed under the Magnitsky Act for allegedly participating in acts of significant corruption involving bribery

The act allows the office of foreign assets control, a US treasury department financial intelligence agency, to blacklist an individual or entity and block all of its assets in the US or in possession or control of Americans and cannot be accessed.

They claim officials accepted bribes from Iran that were intended to cover ANC debts in return for which party members agreed to pursue the case in the ICJ, blaming Israel for committing genocide in Gaza.

The letter alleges that officials of the ANC received bribes from Iran to pay the party's debts in exchange for agreeing to accuse Israel of genocide in the Gaza Strip at the International Court of Justice.

The authors of the letter highlight numerous meetings between officials of the Islamic Republic and South Africa, especially after the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel.

Meanwhile, Dangor said South Africa was asking for provisional orders because the situation in the whole of Gaza but in particular in Rafah has changed drastically since the last time the matter came to the ICJ.

“What we see is the genocidal acts intensifying, we are seeing the killings intensifying and our legal team has demonstrated the facts on these changing circumstances including the genocidal acts in both Rafah and Gaza,” Dangor explained.

He said what the country was asking for is the ICJ to use its powers to stop the carnage in Gaza and use its powers in an unambiguous way to stop it.

“Our legal team is pointing out we should not depend on such a ceasefire to come through political negotiations because it’s not happening or through some action of the (United Nations [UN]) security council because it’s not happening,” Dangor added.

He continued: “We are asking that the court use its powers that have been conferred upon through the Genocide Convention to order the acts of genocide to end and that include an explicit order for the cessation of hostilities.”

This week, Wits University students protested under the banner of the Socialist Youth Movement against the genocidal onslaught that Israel has waged against the Palestinian people by murdering, maiming, displacing, dehumanising and slaughtering their way through Gaza.

According to the country’s application, it wants orders for the protection of the Palestinian people in Gaza from grave and irreparable violations of their rights, and of its rights, under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention), as a result of Israel’s ongoing military assault on Rafah.

“Not only is there nowhere for the 1.5 million displaced people and others in Rafah safely to flee to – so much of Gaza having been reduced to rubble – if Rafah is similarly destroyed there will be little left of Gaza or of the prospects for the survival of Palestinian life in the territory,” reads the application.

In addition, it states that Rafah is where Gaza’s largest still-partially functioning hospitals are situated.

“Attacks on Rafah’s hospitals similar to those mounted by Israel against hospitals elsewhere in the Strip would therefore deal a fatal blow to Gaza’s already collapsed healthcare system,” South Africa stated in its application.

The country wants the ICJ to indicate further provisional measures and/or to modify its previous provisional measures ordered in January and March this year.

The provisional measures it sought this week are for Israel to immediately withdraw and cease its military offensive in Rafah and immediately take all effective measures to ensure and facilitate the unimpeded access to Gaza of UN and other officials engaged in the provision of humanitarian aid and assistance as well as fact-finding missions, internationally mandated bodies or officials, investigators, and journalists.

This will enable assess and to record conditions on the ground in Gaza and enable the effective preservation and retention of evidence and ensure that its military does not act to prevent such access, provision, preservation or retention.

“Israel shall submit an open report to the court on all measures taken to give effect to these provisional measures within one week as from the date of this order and on all measures taken to give effect to all previous provisional measures indicated by the court within one month as from the date of this order,” the country added.

The ANC was unavailable for comment regarding the allegations sent to Blinken.

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