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South Africa concluded its arguments before the International Court of Justice in the case it brought to the court to stop Israel from destroying Gaza and the Palestinian people.

They argued that Israel, through its ongoing 56 years of occupation of Palestinian territory and 16 years of blockade of Gaza, is now hell bent on erasing Gaza to the ground.

The SA team is led by top legal minds in the country, assisted by legal experts from other jurisdictions.

The legal team argued that Israeli leaders' statements are intended to destroy Gaza and its people.

South Africa's Minister of Justice, Ronald Lamola, said in his presentation to the court that Israel's response to the Hamas attack and taking of hostages have crossed the line of self-defense and given rise to breaches of the Genocide Convention, saying this is the reason SA has initiated the case.

"South Africa welcomes the fact that Israel is engaging with the case in order to have the matter resolved by the court. After careful observation of the facts and submission put before it as the parties to the convention have intended, this hearing is concerned with South Africa's request to the court for the invocation of provisional measures and will necessarily have a narrow and articulate focus."

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, whose responsibility it was to show allegation of genocide intent by Israel, said the way the war is conducted and Palestinians are herded into areas where they are continued to be killed is proof of the occupying power's intention. 

"As we stand today, one percent of the Palestinian population in Gaza has been systematically decimated, and one in four Gazans have been injured since October 7. These two elements alone are capable of evidencing Israel's genocidal intent in relation to the whole or part of the Palestinian population in Gaza."

South Africa's legal team consists of senior advocates, including Ngcukaitobi, John Dugard, a professor of international law, and Max Du Plessis, a specialist in constitutional law.

The Israeli team will present its heads of argument to the International Court of Justice on Friday.

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Photo Credits
Department of International Relations and Cooperation, SA

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Dao'ud Vries