In an application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), South Africa describes Israel’s actions in Gaza as “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”
Israel’s war on the Palestinian territory has killed more than 21,500 people since October 7.
“The acts in question include killing Palestinians in Gaza, causing them serious bodily and mental harm, and inflicting on them conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction,” read the application.
South Africa said Israel’s conduct, particularly since the war began on October 7, violates the UN’s Genocide Convention, and called for an expedited hearing.
The application also requests the court to indicate provisional measures to “protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people” under the Convention.
The State of Palestine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that South Africa’s instituting of genocide proceedings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was welcome amid Israel’s attempted “destruction of the Palestinian people.”
Palestinians are suffering under Israel’s “colonial occupation and apartheid regime” and “urgent intervention and actions is needed to protect against further harm”, the ministry said in a statement.
“The Court must immediately take action to protect the Palestinian people and call on Israel, the occupying power, to halt its onslaught,” the ministry added.
“The existence of the Palestinian people is under unprecedented threat as we are facing a moral and legal catastrophe of enormous proportions.”