News Release

South Africa Invokes Genocide Convention Against Israel


South Africa today filed an application instituting proceedings against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), concerning alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the “Genocide Convention”) in relation to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. From the Application: “This section provides an overview of the acts in which Israel has engaged that are genocidal in character, having regard to their nature, scope and context. These acts are ongoing, and ongoing in a conflict context, where Israel is deliberately imposing telecommunications blackouts on Gaza and restricting access by fact-finding bodies and the international media. At the same time Palestinian journalists are being killed at a rate significantly higher than has occurred in any conflict in the past 100 years. In the two months since 7 October 2023, the number of journalists killed already exceeded that of the entirety of World War II. Further detail will be provided regarding these acts over the course of these proceedings. However, such information as is available establishes that Israel: (1) is engaged in killing Palestinians in Gaza — including Palestinian children — in large numbers; (2) is causing serious bodily and mental harm to Palestinians in Gaza, including Palestinian children; and is inflicting on them conditions of life intended to bring about their destruction as a group. Those conditions include: (3) expulsions from homes and mass displacement, alongside the large-scale destruction of homes and residential areas; (4) deprivation of access to adequate food and water; (4) deprivation of access to adequate medical care; (5) deprivation of access to adequate shelter, clothes, hygiene and sanitation; and (6) the destruction of the life of the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

Professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley’s books include The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict (Cambridge University Press) and The Ruses for War: American Interventionism Since World War II. He was featured on the recent news release “Beyond U.S. Isolation at UN, What’s Not Being Done.” He noted that other countries can intervene in the case, as some 30 countries did regarding the Ukraine case against Russia at the ICJ or as several recently did with the Myanmar case. He notes that the South African action falls short of calling for a halt to all military action by Israel in Gaza, only addressing actions that are genocidal in nature.

Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law.  Boyle’s books include The Bosnian People Charge Genocide (1996) Palestine, Palestinians and International Law (2009) and World Politics, Human Rights and International Law (2021). He was featured on the news release “On Israel: Lawyer Who Applied Genocide Convention for Bosnia Recommends it Now for Palestinians.” He said today: “This genocide lawsuit is a severe body blow to Israel from which it shall never recover.”