South Africa’s president said Thursday that he was pleased with how his country’s legal team argued its case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel for allegedly committing genocide in Gaza.“I have never felt as proud as I felt today when our legal team was arguing our case in The Hague,” said Cyril Ramaphosa, addressing the Women’s League of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.
Ramaphosa said his country had put together a strong team of lawyers to represent South Africa’s case at the top UN court in The Hague, the Netherlands.
South Africa filed its case at the ICJ in December, arguing that Israel violated the 1948 Genocide Convention. It filed an 84-page document with the court detailing acts it says amount to genocide in Gaza.
The court heard South Africa’s arguments on Thursday and will hear Israel’s response on Friday.
Many legal experts across the world said Thursday that South Africa’s legal team presented a strong case backed with evidence.
South Africa’s Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, who is leading the South African delegation to The Hague, told reporters: “We believe the court has heard our sight. They understand the urgency, and they will deliver the verdict within reasonable time.”
South Africa’s application wants the ICJ to compel Israel to stop its military action in Gaza, which has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians and reduced the coastal territory to ruins.
“The commitment to justice and bringing an end to the humanitarian atrocities in Palestine resonate deeply with the collective consciousness of the global community,” Lamola said, as he warned that “the scale of these actions is reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide 10 years ago.”
Iqbal Jassat, an executive member of the Johannesburg-based advocacy group Media Review Network, told Anadolu that South Africa’s legal arguments were presented with great skill and professionalism by the country’s high-powered team of renowned specialists in international law.
He said this makes it unlikely for the ICJ to not grant the order requested by South Africa.
“We at Media Review Network are confident that the court will make a finding in favor of South Africa, by ruling that the threshold of plausibility has been met to impose provisional measures,” he said.
He said a victory for South Africa will be a huge setback for the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for it will mean that none of his military goals, which to date have not been met, will be sunk in humiliation.
Palestinian ambassador to South Africa Hanan Jarrar said she was grateful to South Africa for standing with Palestine and looks forward to seeing Israel brought to account by the UN court.
She described the case as a beacon of hope for her country.
“Injustice will not last forever. The apartheid regime will not last forever. Atrocities and colonization will not last forever,” she said.