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Reflections on the South Africa v. Israel Case at the International Court of Justice

Dr Jack Kenny

On 29 December 2023, South Africa 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 in relation to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Oral hearings were held on 11 and 12 January 2024, and the Court delivered its Order on the Request for the indication of provisional measures on 26 January.

BIICL held a Rapid Response Webinar on 9 February 2024 that convened a panel of experts to discuss legal issues relating to recent developments concerning the case, including discussion of provisional measures and the requisite elements of the crime of genocide under international law. The event was convened by Dr Jack Kenny, Research Fellow in International Law, BIICL.

The chair of the event was Professor Dapo Akande, University of Oxford. The session featured presentations from four experts that prompted a discussion among panellists before questions were taken from the audience. The speakers presented in the following order: Professor Marko Milanovic, University of Reading, began setting the scene for discussion by outlining how the order for provisional measures came about before discussing the key issue in the order of plausibility of the rights claimed before considering the real-world impact of the order. Professor Paula Gaeta, Geneva Graduate Institute, presented on the content of the provisional measures order and general allegations of violations of international humanitarian law. Dr Danae Azaria, University College London, presented on the parties' and Court's approach to the existence of a "dispute". Finally, Professor Christian J. Tams, University of Glasgow, presented on the position of third states vis-à-vis the genocide charge.

A draft of this report was circulated to the speakers for their endorsement and to make any clarifications or corrections prior to publication. Given the sensitivity of the topic, where possible this event report has sought to closely follow language used by participants in their remarks (subject to further clarifications made by participants to the draft of this report).

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