South Africa Takes Israel To ICJ Over 'Genocidal Acts' In Gaza

Israel 'rejects with disgust' the motion in the international court, terming it 'blood libel' against it

South Africa Takes Israel To ICJ Over 'Genocidal Acts' In Gaza

The former apartheid state of South Africa has launched a formal case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the latter's alleged 'genocidal' actions in the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

The ICJ confirmed that it had received a formal complaint from South Africa wherein Israel was accused of violating its obligations under the Genocide Convention - created in response to the Holocaust.

"Israel has engaged in, is engaging in, and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza," read Pretoria's complaint to The Hague.

Israel was further accused of acting "with the requisite specific intent... to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group."

South Africa asked the international court to "protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people".

So far, in the 86-day campaign following the October 7 incursion by Hamas fighters into southern Israel, over 20,000 civilians have been killed by Israel in Gaza and the West Bank. Over 8,500 of them have been children with health authorities that the true figure could be much greater with bodies buried under the rubble of buildings completely destroyed in Israeli air strikes and with many people unable to reach hospitals.

Meanwhile, Israel's foreign office spokesperson responded to the case by rejecting it 'with disgust'.

It termed it a smear campaign by South Africa against Israel. Israel has recalled its ambassador to South Africa.

South Africa has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause. Nelson Mandela, who led the anti-apartheid movement, is famously quoted as saying: "We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has often linked its struggle against apartheid to the struggle of the Palestinians.

Pretoria has strongly condemned Israel's response to the Hamas attacks and has recalled all its diplomats from the country.

Decisions by the ICJ, which judges disputes between states, are final -- but it has no means of enforcing its decisions.

In November, five countries, including South Africa, called for an International Criminal Court investigation into the Israel-Hamas war.

ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan said South Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros and Djibouti -- all ICC members -- had sought an investigation of "the situation in the state of Palestine".