A case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has been put in motion by South Africa in The Hague, Netherlands, asking the court to look into the genocide being committed by Israel against Palestinians.

The imposition of charges do not only pertain to the crimes perpetrated during the last few months since October 7 that have killed more than 23,000 people till now, but also the 75-year long apartheid, 56-year hostile occupation, and 16-year blockade on Gaza.

The hearing will take place on January 11th and 12th in which a 15-judge panel will hear and deliberate the case.


South Africa filed an 84-page suit with the court on December 29, quoting proofs and references of atrocities being committed by Israel in Gaza, asking the Court – a United Nations body established for settling interstate discords – to pronounce Israeli breaches of responsibilities under international law since October 7.

“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.”, read an excerpt from the suit.

While the rulings are intended to be “binding”, a number of countries do not recognise its results. To give an example, the previous ICJ rulings of Russia invasion of Ukraine, and China’s claims in the South China Sea, were disregarded by China and Russia, consequently affecting ICJ’s credibility.

Additionally, an NGO called Protect Palestine, an Action Guide, writes that according to experts, while South Africa “will make a strong case, it still may not be enough to rule against Israel. Israel will likely continue claims that “Hamas is embedded with civilians”, and that they “try to warn civilians”.

The votes for and against, however, can pave the way to additional challenges for Israel and further affect the legal global standing of the country.

Who is supporting South Africa’s ICJ case against Israel?

The 57-member bloc known as the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) which includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and Morocco; Malaysia; Turkey; Jordan; Bolivia; The Maldives; and Namibia.

A number of advocacy groups and civil society groups across the world including Terreiro Pindorama in Brazil, Asociación Nacional de Amistad Italia-Cuba in Italy, and Collectif Judeo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine in France.

Previously, Bolivia had filed a request to International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan alongside South Africa, Bangladesh, Comoros, and Djibouti to probe into the matter in Palestine.

Read more: Can South Africa’s ICJ case against Israel stop war in Gaza?