US Lawyer: ICJ's Ruling in Genocide Case against Israel to Be Test for Global Community

US Lawyer: ICJ's Ruling in Genocide Case against Israel to Be Test for Global Community

If the International Court of Justice (ICJ) imposes the provisional measures sought by South Africa after producing compelling evidence meeting all of the elements of genocide against Israel, the international community, particularly Washington will be put to the test, a senior US lawyer told Anadolu Agency in The Hague.

Diala Shamas described South Africa’s case hearing at the ICJ as a “historic moment,” and said it is worthwhile to travel to The Hague to witness the genocide case against Israel.

Shamas noted that South Africa began his arguments by reminding the court of the context that began in 1948, saying: “Referencing 75 years of apartheid, hearing that from a South African official was, of course, moving for Palestinians in the world.”

She underlined how South Africa “made a very compelling case meeting all of the elements of genocide.”

Commenting on Israeli verbal arguments before the ICJ, she said: “We saw nothing.”

She added that Israel has repeatedly used the same arguments in court as it has in public and in interviews to justify everything it does in response to Hamas.

“I don’t believe it was a very effective argument,” the lawyer stressed, adding, “Genocide is never lawful. There is no self-defense exception for genocide.”

All Eyes Should be on US

Shamas expressed hope that the court will do the “right thing and issue preliminary measures soon,” stressing that everyday matters.

She believed that this would be a test for the international community as ultimately, other countries are allowing Israel to continue without accountability or withdrawing their support, she said.

“And I’m speaking chiefly about the United States that has been unconditionally supporting Israel,” she added.

“With preliminary measures from the court of the world, I think that we’ll all be looking to the US and Europe to a certain extent, but really the US and how they respond and hoping that they, you know, withdraw their military, political and diplomatic support to Israel,” she added.

The lawyer stressed that “the big question” is what the US will do with the Security Council and whether it will veto efforts to implement the ICJ resolution.

“This ultimately, unfortunately, comes down to a political question,” she said.

As the South African lawyer said yesterday, the very value, legitimacy, and credibility of international law are hanged in the balance in this case, she remarked.

Public Hearings

On Thursday, South Africa presented hard evidence in the case it filed on Dec. 29, accusing Israel of genocide and violations of the UN Genocide Convention with its actions in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7.

The South African side is requesting an injunction by the top UN court to halt Israel’s military assault on Gaza, which has dragged on for more than three months.

The 84-page filing by South Africa accuses Israel of acts and omissions “genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent … to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

It says Israel’s genocidal acts include killing Palestinians, causing them serious bodily and mental harm, mass expulsion from homes and displacement, imposing measures intended to prevent Palestinian births, and deprivation of access to adequate food, water, shelter, sanitation, and medical assistance.

It was followed by Israel’s defense the next day, in which the country denied committing genocide and claimed to the ICJ that it was only protecting its people.

The ICJ concluded hearings by asking that both parties of interest remain at the court’s disposal to provide any additional information as required.

It said: “The court will render its order on the request for the provisional measures submitted by South Africa as soon as possible.”

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