ICJ holds first hearing on genocide by Israel in Gaza after South Africa files case

The screen grab shows South Africa’s Justice Minister Ronald Lamola at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, January 11, 2024, as he delivers his opening statement.

The International Court of Justice on Thursday heard arguments that Israel is committing genocide, in its war on Gaza.

The case is being brought by South Africa, and accuses Israel of violating the 1948 UN Genocide convention, by carrying out mass killings, expulsions, and making statements describing Palestinians as sub-human.

South Africa’s Justice Minister, Ronald Lamola, has delivered a compelling opening statement at the International Court, stating that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people.

Lamola said that the violence and destruction extend far beyond recent events, dating back to 1948.

Lamola stated, “The Palestinians have experienced systematic oppression and violence for the last 76 years.”

He said Israel of besieged Gaza, preventing entry by land and sea, and violating the Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide.

The minister highlighted South Africa’s commitment to the convention, quoting Nelson Mandela: “In extending our hands to the people of Palestine, we do so in full knowledge that we are part of humanity.” Lamola emthat this commitment extends to both Palestinians and Israelis.

The court sessions will reportedly present evidence of Israel’s attempt to commit genocide and arguments regarding the comprehensive harm caused in Gaza.

The international community awaits further developments as the case unfolds.

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