South Africa’s Charge Of Genocide Against The State Of Israel

Statement from AJDS.

The AJDS has carefully considered the South African Application to the International Court of Justice in the context of the ongoing conflict and believes that the complaint is sufficiently serious to be adjudicated according to principles of International Law.

The South African Application alleges that Israel has engaged in acts that are genocidal in character, summarized in the following points. These are outlined in detail on pages 30-67 of the Application .

1. Killing Palestinians in Gaza

2. Causing Serious Bodily and Mental Harm to Palestinians in Gaza

3. Mass expulsion from homes and displacement of Palestinians in Gaza

4. Deprivation of access to adequate shelter, clothes, hygiene and sanitation to Palestinians in Gaza 5. Deprivation of adequate medical assistance to Palestinians in Gaza

6. Destruction of Palestinian Life in Gaza

7. Imposing measures intended to prevent Palestinian births

8. Expressions of Genocidal Intent against the Palestinian People by Israeli State Officials and others

AJDS strongly encourages people to read all the allegations and relevant material at via the ICJ website. [].

Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy , in whole or in part , a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

In the context of Israel’s conduct since October 7 2023, the AJDS encourages people to read South Africa’s Application fully and soberly, rather than referring to summarised press reports, sound bites, or sensationalist reporting or commentary. The case will be decided according to international law.

While Israel does not recognise the authority of the International Criminal Court (ICC), it will be represented at the proceedings of the ICJ, having signed the UN Convention on Genocide in August 1949. Key issues to be considered will include statements made by Israeli politicians and military that can be interpreted as incitement to genocide.

If the International Court of Justice agrees with the South African position, the ramifications for Israel are multifaceted and unparalleled.

There may be moves to prosecute individual Israeli politicians or military leaders in the International Criminal Court.

Israel as a state, or its officials will be classified by international law with Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnian Serb forces and others as having engaged in genocidal acts. This will be a serious blow for Israel and may profoundly challenge Jews around the world. Repercussions can be anticipated including calls for the US to stop supporting Israel´s military and a full sanctions regime.

From paragraph 1 of the Application, ” South Africa unequivocally condemns all violations of international law by all parties, including the direct targeting of Israeli civilians and other nationals and hostage-taking by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups“.

But South Africa argues that “ no armed attack on a State´s territory no matter how serious – even an attack involving atrocity crimes – can, however, provide any possible justification for, or defence to, breaches of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (`Genocide Convention´ or `Convention´) whether as a matter of law or morality“.

South Africa further alleges that “Israel, since 7 October 2023 in particular, has failed to prevent genocide and has failed to prosecute the direct and public incitement to genocide ” and that “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza“.

It calls for ” provisional measures” in order to “protect against further severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people under the Genocide Convention” and “to ensure Israel´s compliance with its obligations under the Genocide Convention not to engage in genocide, and to prevent and to punish genocide“.

A discussion and useful links to documentation about Genocide can be found at Also see

8 January 2024