Israel is to face accusation of genocide before an international court with hearings based on a South African complaint scheduled for January 11 and 12.
The dates were announced Wednesday evening by the International Court of Justice, ICJ, the highest UN court, in The Hague.
The court claims that, South Africa will make its case on January 11 and Israel on the 12th, with two hours planned for each side.
South Africa had invoked the Genocide Convention in its complaint filed with the court on Friday. Both South Africa and Israel have signed the convention.
For the time being, these are summary proceedings. South Africa had requested immediate measures, saying the court should order an end to the violence against Palestinians in order to protect their rights “from further serious and irreparable harm.”
South Africa claims that, Israel’s attacks are “genocidal in nature,” as they are aimed at destroying the Palestinians in the area.
Lior Haiat, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, has rejected South Africa’s claims after the filing.
“Israel rejects with disgust the blood libel spread by South Africa and its application with this complaint” to the ICJ, he wrote last week on X.
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The lawsuit “lacks both factual and legal basis,” he wrote, adding that the ICJ and the international community should “completely reject South Africa’s baseless claims.”
Hamas is solely responsible for the suffering in Gaza, as Israel is doing whatever it can to minimize harm to the civilian population, Haiat wrote.
Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields and steals humanitarian aid from them, he added.
The ICJ is the highest court of the United Nations and is supposed to dispense justice in conflicts between states.
Its judgements are binding, but UN judges have no way of enforcing them. To do so, they would have to appeal to the UN Security Council.