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What is South Africa’s new case against Israel? – DW – 05/16/2024

What is South Africa’s new case against Israel?  – DW – 05/16/2024

What exactly is South Africa demanding from Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague?

South Africa asks International Court of Justice (ICJ) “Provisional measures” should be ordered Urges Israel to end its military operations Against the Hamas terrorist organization Gaza StripAllow supplies to reach the Palestinians in the territory and hold them accountable for their actions to date.

The African country is justifying this new request for precautionary measures in court The situation around Rafah is direIsrael reportedly launched a ground offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Millions of people have been forced to leave. Meanwhile, the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, essential for supplies, remains closed.

What is Israel’s response to this demand?

Israeli representatives at the court in The Hague will point out that military action in Rafah is necessary against Hamas terrorists who killed or kidnapped more than 1,400 Israeli civilians on October 7, 2023.

They would argue that it is difficult to avoid civilian casualties in a war between densely populated cities. Israel, on the other hand, says the fighting will stop immediately if Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the US, EU and other countries, surrenders or is defeated.

In this sense, Israel He denies that he is solely responsible for the dire humanitarian situation of civilians and that he has not done enough to care for them. He says Egypt The Israeli army has closed the Rafah border crossing since it occupied the Palestinian territory. Egypt denies it.

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What can the ICJ decide?

The International Court of Justice has already ordered “provisional measures” against Israel on two occasions in January and March 2024 at the request of South Africa.

In January, the judges ruled that Israel must do everything possible to guarantee supplies to the Palestinian people and avoid civilian casualties. According to Palestinian figures, 35,000 people have died so far. On the other hand, the court ignored Pretoria’s request to order a ceasefire.

In March, the ICJ reiterated and toughened its orders because, according to the United Nations, the civilian situation in Gaza was coming to a close. Famine.

With this Third requestThe court could further expand its rules and require, for example, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Rafah.

In any case, the decision is expected in a few weeks.

What are the consequences of judicial decisions?

Despite mounting political pressure on Israel, its government remains undeterred and, so far, the ICJ’s rulings have had little impact on the situation in the Gaza Strip, even though the court’s rulings are binding on United Nations member states that belong to Israel.

However, the ICJ lacks the mechanisms and police force to actually enforce its sentences.

In previous cases, such as Russia, which was ordered to halt its illegal occupation of Ukraine, the Hague’s rulings were ignored.

South Africa sues Israel before ICJ for genocide?

In December last year, South Africa sued Israel for violating the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. At that time, the court declared itself competent and accepted South Africa’s claim.

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Israel denies violating the accord and disputes its actions in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is a terrorist organization You are exercising your right of self-defense.

Based on these key measures, South Africa is now again seeking interim measures against which the court can order. A case of genocide. However, experience shows that the main issue, namely the question of whether Israel can commit genocide, will be decided only in a few years after extensive negotiations and consultations.

Colombia and Türkiye want to join this demand from South Africa.

Why is the Hague Court Worthy?

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is an organ of the United Nations, and every regular member of the organization is automatically answerable to this court. Before this body, claims are filed by states against other states, disputes between them are settled or violations of the United Nations Charter or other UN treaties are clarified.

From there, the states are responsible for carrying out the sentences because, as stated, the court does not have a police force.

The International Court of Justice or the International Court of Justice should not be confused with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which previously prosecuted individuals for violations of international law. In this regard, the ICC’s chief prosecutor is already investigating Hamas leaders and Israeli politicians.