The fighting in Gaza, the situation of civilians and more
South Africa says “no armed attack” can justify a violation of the Genocide Convention
In his speech before the court, South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said that the oppression of the Palestinian people did not begin after the Hamas attacks, considering that it had continued for years.
In Gaza, at least since 2004, Israel continues to exercise control over airspace, territorial waters, land crossings, water, electricity, and civilian infrastructure.
“South Africa unequivocally condemns the attacks on civilians and hostage-taking by Hamas, other groups and Palestinians on October 7, 2023,” he said.
But he said: “Any armed attack against the territory of a state, no matter how serious it may be…even an attack involving heinous crimes, can provide any justification or defense for violations of the Convention. Whether the matter is a matter of law or morality.”
“Israel’s response to the October 7, 2023 attack crossed this line and led to violations of the Convention,” he told the court.
Israel launched its campaign on Gaza following the October 7 attacks in which Hamas killed 1,200 people in Israel and took more than 200 hostage.
Its president said that Israel plans to say it is acting in self-defense when it responds to South Africa on Friday.
Reminder: The International Court of Justice, founded in 1945, is the highest court of the United Nations and hears cases brought by states that accuse others of violating their obligations under UN treaties. South Africa and Israel are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention, which means they are obligated not to commit, to prevent and to punish genocide. The Convention automatically grants jurisdiction to the International Court of Justice over signatory states.