Protests as UN top court hears genocide case against Israel over Gaza war

Dutch police kept rival demonstrations apart in The Hague as South Africa opened a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing Israel of breaching the UN Genocide Convention and saying the deadly October 7 attacks by Hamas could not justify its actions in the Gaza Strip.

Pro-Israel protesters waving flags marched through the streets while Palestinian supporters brandished placards saying: “End Israel apartheid.”

The top United Nations court, which rules on disputes between countries, has never judged a country to be responsible for genocide. The closest it came was in 2007 when it ruled that Serbia “violated the obligation to prevent genocide” in the July 1995 massacre by Bosnian Serb forces of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnia-Herzegovina enclave of Srebrenica.

The current case revolves around the 1948 Genocide Convention, which was drawn up in the aftermath of World War II and the murder of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. Both Israel and South Africa are signatories.

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