ICJ set to rule on Israel’s war crimes

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to reach a verdict on Israel’s genocide case on January 26, CNN and other high profile news outlets reported. 

South Africa, a strong pro-Palestinian nation, brought the case against the country at the beginning of the month as they perceive Israel to be committing genocide in Gaza as well as failing to prosecute those responsible and/or inciting such acts. 

South Africa also pleaded to the court to enforce “provisional measures” to protect the rights of Palestinians in Gaza “from imminent and irreparable loss.”   

During the hearing, Israeli lawyer Tal Becker told the UN’s top court that South Africa’s case was, “an attempt to weaponize the term ‘genocide’ against Israel” as well as denying the country’s “right to self defence”. 

In response to the legal scrutiny, Israel premier Benjamin Netanyahu denied that he has ever supported or encouraged genocide against the Palestinian people despite the shockingly high death toll in Gaza over the past 14 weeks (over 25,000). 

Netanyahu also vowed to be ruthless against Palestinian militant group Hamas and to “never surrender” to them. 

READ: British FM “worried” about Israel commiting war crimes

Despite the Middle Eastern country not recognising high international courts’ legitimacy and responding dismissively to U.N. investigations, Israel sent a high-level legal team to recent hearings which emphasised the importance of the legal pressure against them. 

Overall, the ICJ case was welcomed by numerous countries, however some viewed it as a witch hunt. 

Hungary, whose Prime Minister Viktor Orban is seen as a close ally of Netanyahu, called the case a “legal attack against Israel”. 

Germany was supportive of Israel during the hearing and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron dubbed the case “unhelpful”, reiterating that the country has a right to “defend itself”. 

The United Kingdom was accused of hypocrisy as they welcomed the ICJ case against Myammar for “Rohingya genocide”, which was filed by The Gambia in 2019, but shunned such recent investigations into Israel. 

Surprisingly, Ireland, the most pro-Palestinian EU member state, was not supportive of South Africa’s genocide accusations. Despite numerous opposition lawmakers calling on the government to back it, Irish head Leo Varadkar said that the international community should be careful when using the term “genocide” and should not be banding it around. Varadkar also argued that Hamas’ assault on southern Israel in October could be considered as a genocidal act. 

CNN/ Human Rights Watch  

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