By Afshain Afzal
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is holding two sessions on 11 January 2024 (Oral arguments from South Africa) and 12 January 2024 (Oral argument from Israel), on the request of indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa on 29 December 2023. The ICJ has twofold role: first to settle, in accordance with the international law, legal disputes submitted by the states and second to give advisory opinion on legal questions referred to it. While the court decides on a ruling, South Africa has also requested the court to impose emergency measures to cease alleged violations by Israel.
In its 84-page filing South Africa have claimed that Israel is committing genocide in manifest violation of the Genocide Convention by killing Palestinians in Gaza, causing them serious mental and bodily harm and by creating conditions on life calculated to bring about their physical destruction. It highlights Israel barring provision of essential food, water, medicine, fuel, shelter and other humanitarian assistance to the Gaza strip during the more than three-month war. It also points out the sustained bombing campaign which has laid much of the enclave to waste, forced the evacuation of some 1.9 million Palestinians and killed over 23,000 people according to Gaza health authorities.
On the other hand, Israel claims that on 7 October 2023, Israel experienced a catastrophic act of genocide when armed Hamas militants invaded the country through land, air, and sea. This act of genocide, coinciding with a Jewish holiday, involved destroying the Gazan security fence with heavy weaponry and infiltrating the southern cities of Israel. During this massacre, the Hamas murdered over 1,200 innocent civilians, including infants, the elderly and individuals at a music festival that celebrated peace. Hamas kidnapped 240 innocent Israeli civilians. However, so far Israel has neither shown any aircrafts, ship, or devices used by Hamas in neither air and sea attacks nor heavy weaponry held by Hamas.