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South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, explained

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Vox, January 2024

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) began hearing arguments in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel Thursday, setting off the most significant international challenge yet to Israel’s war in Gaza.

Under international humanitarian law, proving allegations of genocide is incredibly difficult. And even if South Africa does prove that Israel is committing genocide — or that it is failing to prosecute incitement to genocide or prevent genocide from occurring — ICJ decisions aren’t necessarily easy to enforce. But these initial arguments aren’t yet entering that complicated territory. Instead, they’re about whether the ICJ will issue a preliminary order for Israel to stop its onslaught in Gaza immediately; the court will rule on that issue after hearing arguments from South Africa and Israel Thursday and Friday. Though Israel could ignore that ruling if it’s issued, it could make Israel’s allies less inclined to support the war.

“This case will provide other states with a basis for pressuring Israel to stop its campaign — it creates a firm and objective historical record which is important in a situation like this where political tensions are so high,” Juliette McIntyre, a lecturer in law at the University of Southern Australia, told Vox.

Read more at Vox.

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