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SA’s quest to end the war in Gaza will be put to test in The Hague

todayJanuary 10, 2024 57

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The question of whether South Africa will be able to stop the war in Gaza is one that lingers across the globe.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), in The Hague, will tomorrow and Friday hear South Africa’s genocide application against Israel.

South Africa is the first country to lodge a case against the Middle Eastern country in a bid to stop the world’s longest-continuing conflicts.

The recent relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip has so far claimed the lives of more than 23 000 people and left close to 60 000 others wounded.

It began on October 7 when the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, ambushed Israel – killing about 1 200 citizens and taking about 240 others hostage.

Pretoria is accusing Israel of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention, which describes genocide as acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group.

They are also seeking that the court order Tel Aviv to halt its invasion of Palestinian territories.

South Africa believes that Israel has failed to prevent and prosecute the incitement of genocide, which has become evident from the utterances made by some officials, including that country’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Women and children have been the hardest hit in the war, with the essential health care services crucial for the survival of pregnant women and babies in Palestinian territories crippled.

Some world leaders have described Gaza as a graveyard for children.

Israel has since slammed Pretoria for dragging them to the ICJ, accusing South Africa of advocating for the devil.

Tel Aviv says history will judge South Africa for its alleged criminal complicity in the bloodiest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

Qatar and Oman are among the countries that have so far submitted written statements to the ICJ in support of the Palestinians.

The International Criminals Court is also investigating war crimes against Israeli leaders.

Meanwhile, British politician and Conservative Member of Parliament, Sir Michael Ellis says South Africa is in danger of becoming a terrorist proxy in its genocide case.

He believes that Pretoria’s case has no legal basis.

South Africa’s Justice Minister, Ronald Lamola, is leading the country’s delegation to The Hague.

The delegation includes Director Generals in the Presidency, the Department of International Relations (DIRCO) and the Justice Department.

Special advisor to President Cyril Ramaphosa, advocate Nokukhanya Jele is also among the delegates.

The country has put its best foot forward with an A-team of legal representatives.

They include:
Adv. Adila Hassim SC
Adv. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC
Adv. Max Du Plessis SC
Adv. John Dugard SC
Adv. Tshidiso Ramogale
Adv. Sara Pudifin-Jones
Adv. Lerato Zikalala
Adv. Vaughan Lowe KC
Adv. Blinne Ni Ghralaigh KC

Lamola says they are determined to see the end of the genocide taking place in Gaza.

“We are most encouraged by leaders of the world who have not blunted their consciousness and have stood on the right side of history by supporting a case that seeks to protect the rights of human beings, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity.”

Meanwhile,  the leader of the African Christian Democratic Party, Rev. Kenneth Meshoe, has expressed very little faith in South Africa’s bid to nail Israel for genocide.

He says he does not believe that the country will be able to prove that Israel has the necessary genocidal intent against the Palestinian people as required by the Genocide Convention.

Meshoe says South Africa can no longer play the role of an honest peace-broker after taking sides by lodging this court application.

“The South African government could have played a far more constructive role in influencing Hamas to release hostages after the deadly attack on October 7, and even to surrender, to avoid the loss of civilian lives, and to seek to bring about a lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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