The UN's International Court of Justice, The Hague
Co-Sponsored by ICAHD USA and the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace
On 29th December 2023, South Africa submitted an appeal to the International Court of Justice on Israel’s genocide in Gaza. This resulted in South Africa presenting its case before the court justices on 11th January, and it called for preliminary relief, styled Provisional Measures. This was followed by Israel presenting its arguments on the 12th January.
To date in Gaza, over 24,000 have been killed and with more than 60,000 injured. Sixty-five thousand housing units have been demolished and 1.9 million Palestinians have been displaced.
Israel’s imposition of collective punishment on Gaza, relentlessly bombing civilians, denying an imprisoned population water, food, medicine, and fuel, have made life unliveable. This meets the criteria for the crime of genocide - a crime committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as a whole or in part.
Parties to the Genocide Convention are obliged to act to prevent genocide. A Declaration of Intervention filed with the ICJ in support of the South African case against Israel is one way to ensure that all acts of genocide are stopped and those responsible are held accountable.
However, following the two-day hearing, the UK government, along with the United States, Canada, Germany, and Guatemala, have publicly announced their support for Israel.
During the webinar, the nature of these proceedings before the ICJ, its jurisdiction and possible outcomes were discussed. We believe that this will be a test case on whether or not the Genocide Convention be upheld and whether international law is still relevant.
The speakers were:
Sahar Francis is a Palestinian human rights defender and the General Director of the Palestinian human rights organisation Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Sahar Francis is a lawyer and has worked for years promoting human rights in the face of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory. As a Director of Addameer, she focuses on the political and civil rights issues in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially those of Palestinian prisoners and detainees.
Robert Herbst is co-chair of ICAHD USA and has been a lawyer for 50 years specialising in civil rights, whistleblower protection, employment and housing discrimination cases, criminal law and class actions in the federal and state courts. Robert has served as an independent investigator and prosecutor for the international criminal tribunals of Sierra Leone and Rwanda.
Read his recent article 'South Africa appeals to the International Court of Justice: Stop Israel’s genocide in Gaza' originally published in Mondoweiss on 31 December 2023.
Jeff Halper is the co-founder and director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). With his doctorate in anthropology, Jeff taught at Haifa and Ben Gurion Universities in Israel, and was the head of Friends World College, an international university program. Jeff is the recipient of several peace awards and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize along with Palestinian Ghassan Andoni in 2006. Jeff has published many articles and his books include Obstacles to Peace, An Israeli in Palestine, War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification and Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine: Zionism, Settler Colonialism and The Case for One Democratic State. Jeff is on the steering committee of the One Democratic State Campaign.