News & Commentary

South Africa’s legal delegation receives “heroes’ welcome” at Johannesburg airport

"This week marked an important episode. But it did not mark the culmination..."

At O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg this weekend, a cheering crowd welcomed South Africa’s legal delegation home from The Hague, where they presented oral arguments last Thursday as part of their genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Here’s a edited version of a news report from Africanews:

“[We must] not forget that the struggle continues. This is an episode in a long struggle,” said Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi—a lawyer and legal scholar who presented evidence of Israel’s genocidal intent before the ICJ on Thursday—during a filmed interview at the airport.

“You heard [Advocate Adila Hassim] say it is about a 75 year occupation. So that struggle continues. It will not end. This week marked an important episode. But it did not mark the culmination. It marked a very crucial turning point in having the world look at the issue through a legal lens.”

“The Court will now begin its deliberation,” said a press release from the ICJ on Friday, after Israel concluded their oral arguments. “The Court’s decision will be delivered at a public sitting, the date of which will be announced in due course.”

The communique also listed South Africa’s requests to the Court, made “as a matter of extreme urgency.”

First and foremost: “The State of Israel shall immediately suspend its military operations in and against Gaza.”

They also demand that Israel desist from any further forced displacement or deprivation of access to adequate food, water, fuel, shelter, clothes, hygiene sanitation, medical supplies, and medical and humanitarian aid.

Moreover: “The State of Israel shall not act to deny or otherwise restrict access by fact-finding missions, international mandates and other bodies to Gaza to assist in ensuring the preservation and retention of said evidence.”

A collection of clips from the first portion of South Africa’s oral argument can be seen here: Genocide Convention: South Africa v. Israel at the ICJ (Day 1)

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