More than 900 organisations including countries and prominent individuals are backing South Africa’s monumental genocide case against Israel.
Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), Clayson Monyela, has verified that the country’s significant legal proceeding at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), scheduled for today (Thursday) in The Hague, has garnered global attention.
“Add #Venezuela, #Maldives & over 900 global movements, unions, political parties & organisations to the list. Senior leaders & politicians in Spain, Israel, Belgium etc have also publicly declared their support for South Africa's case at the ICJ against Israel.
“Over 900 movements, unions, political parties and other organisations calling on states to support South Africa’s ICJ case against Israel,” Monyela tweeted on Tuesday.
It is reported that the ICJ will today and tomorrow host public hearings at its Peace Palace in The Hague, where SA will argue its case against Israel on the first day while Israel is expected to defend itself on Friday.
Among those roped in to argue South Africa’s case are leading legal gurus including Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh, Adila Hassim, John Dugard, Max du Plessis, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Tshidiso Ramogale, Sarah Pudifin-Jones, Vaughan Lowe and Lerato Zikalala.
On Wednesday, Jordan also added its voice behind South Africa’s case at the ICJ with its minister of Foreign Affairs, Ayman Safadi, having announced that his government will follow on the footsteps of South Africa by filing a legal file to follow up on the case.
Ahead of the hearing, other countries that back the South African government on the alleged violation of the Genocide Convention include Turkey, Malaysia, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
This comes after South Africa, on December 29, approached the ICJ under the Genocide Convention with respect to acts committed by Israel against the people of Palestine in the Gaza strip which have resulted in the killing of more than 21 500 people, most of them children and women.
In its application, South Africa said it is gravely concerned with the plight of civilians caught in the current Israeli attacks.
“South Africa is gravely concerned with the plight of civilians caught on the Gaza Strip due to the indiscriminate use of force and forcible removal of inhabitants. Furthermore, there are ongoing reports of international crimes, such as crimes against humanity and war crimes, being committed as well as reports that acts meeting the threshold of genocide or related crimes as defined in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, have been and may still be committed in the context of the ongoing massacres in Gaza,“ the country has argued.
At the start of the war on October 7, South Africa called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the resumption of talks that sought to end the violence meted out against children, women and civilians.
Meanwhile, the ICJ proceedings on the South Africa legal case could help protect Palestinian civilians, end the man-made humanitarian catastrophe in the occupied Gaza Strip and offer a glimmer of hope for international justice, said Amnesty International yesterday.
“There is no end in sight to the mass human suffering, devastation and destruction we are witnessing on an hourly basis in Gaza. The risk that Gaza would be transformed from the world’s biggest open-air prison to a giant graveyard has, crushingly, materialised right before our eyes,” said Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International.
“As the United States continues to use its veto power to block the UN Security Council from calling for a ceasefire, war crimes and crimes against humanity are rife, and the risk of genocide is real. States have a positive obligation to prevent and punish genocide and other atrocity crimes. The ICJ’s examination of Israel’s conduct is a vital step for the protection of Palestinian lives, to restore trust and credibility in the universal application of international law, and to pave the way for justice and reparation for victims.”