South Africa seeks ICJ genocide order against Israel over Gaza war
South Africa asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Friday for an urgent order declaring that Israel was in breach of its obligations under the Genocide Convention in its brutal war on Gaza.
In the latest development in Israel's war, tens of thousands of newly displaced Gazans sought refuge in the centre of the Palestinian enclave on Friday after fleeing an Israeli tank offensive, while warplanes attacking the south flattened homes and buried families as they slept.
The court application is the latest move by South Africa, a vociferous critic of Israel's war, to ratchet up pressure after its lawmakers last month voted in favour of closing down the Israeli embassy in Pretoria and suspending all diplomatic relations until a ceasefire was agreed.
In a statement from South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), the government said the application against Israel was filed on Friday.
"Israel, since 7 October 2023 in particular, has failed to prevent genocide and has failed to prosecute the direct and public incitement to genocide," DIRCO said in a statement.
It said it had requested that the ICJ declare "on an urgent basis that Israel is in breach of its obligations in terms of the Genocide Convention, should immediately cease all acts and measures in breach of those obligations and take a number of related actions."
The ICJ is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and helps settle disputes between states in accordance with international law.
South Africa has backed the Palestinian cause for statehood in Israeli-occupied territories for decades, likening the plight of Palestinians to those of the Black majority in South Africa during the repressive apartheid-era.