1) Patrick Wintour, “Stakes high as South Africa brings claim of genocidal intent against Israel; Israel’s decision to defend itself at the international court of justice will make it harder for it to brush aside any adverse finding,” The Guardian, January 4, 2024.
2) Jake Johnson, “Israel Accused of ‘Effort to Intimidate the Judges’ Ahead of Genocide Hearings; ‘Israel is pressing others to denounce the case in the hope of persuading the International Court of Justice to decide based on politics rather than the facts,’ said one critic,” Common Dreams, January 7, 2024;
3) Barak Ravid, “Inside Israel’s plan to quash South Africa’s Gaza genocide case,” AXIOS, January 5, 2024.
4) South Africa, “Application instituting proceedings and request for the indication of provisional measures (South Africa v. Israel), December 29, 2023.
5) International Court of Justice, “Request for the indication of provisional measures; Public hearings to be held on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 January 2024,” Press Release No. 2024/1 3 January 2024,
South Africa brought a case against Israel under age 1948 Genocide Convention and a request for an indication of Provisional Measures on December 29, 2023.
In a Press Release on January 3, 2024, the ICJ announced that public hearings on South Africa’s Request for Provisional Measures would be held on February 11 and 12, 2024, at the seat of the Court in the Peace Palace in The Hague.
South Africa will present its arguments on Thursday, February 11, from 10 am-12pm. Israel will present its arguments on Friday, February 12, from 10 am-12pm.
The proceedings will be streamed live and on demand on the Court’s website and also on UN Web TV.
Jake Johnson writes in Uncommon Dreams that Israel, is reportedly pressuring governments to denounce the proceedings.
According to a cable obtained by Axios, the Israeli Foreign Ministry is calling on the country’s embassies to pressure host country diplomats and political leaders to swiftly issue an “immediate and unequivocal statement along the following lines: To publicly and clearly state that YOUR COUNTRY rejects the outrage[ous], absurd, and baseless allegations made against Israel.”
Axios reports that the U.S. in knee-jerk fashion already denounced the South African complaint:
The Biden administration has already rejected South Africa’s appeal.
“We find this submission meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever,” the White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Wednesday.
Kirby’s statement onlybreveals how clueless of or unconcerned by international law the Biden administration. Three years after taking office, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has yet to nominate and secure the confirmation of the top international lawyer in tge government, the Legal Adviser to the State Department.
Israel is justifiably concerned. At long last, Israel’s actions in Gaza will ultimately be measured against the requirements of international law contained in the Genocide Convention.
The hearings on February 11 and 12 relate to the indication of provisional measures, the international judicial equivalent of an injunction but one which the Court lacks the power to enforce.
Israel is likely to ignore the Court’s interim order. The next phase of the proceedings may be on “Preliminary Objections” to the jurisdiction and competence of the Court to hear the case.
This will take time. Then the Court is likely to proceed to the Merits phase of the proceedings, in which itvwill hear evidence and reach decisions regarding the allegations contained in South Africa’s complaint.
The whole process could take a couple of years. In the case of Nicaragua v. U.S., brought by Nicaragua in 1984, the Court issued an order of interim protection, a decision holding it was competent to hear the case, and in 1986 a final Judgment on the Merits condemning the United States.
While the proceedings will take time, the final Judgment on the Merits by the International Court of Justice is likely to render a harsh judgment against Israel and the government of Benjamin Netanyahu for their actions in Gaza since October 7, 2023.