Apartheid as a form of genocide: Reflections on South Africa v Israel

By Published On: 31st January 2024
Victor Kattan, Gerhard Kemp

On 12 December 2023, Mathu Joyini, South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, told the 10th Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, that the large-scale Israeli military operation in Gaza, following the 7 October attacks, had ‘illustrated that Israel is acting contrary to its obligations in terms of the Genocide Convention’. She added that, ‘[a]s a UN Member State and owing to South Africa’s painful past experience of a system of apartheid, this impresses on us, as Member States to take action in accordance with international law’ (video of session at 1:17:22).

Less than three weeks later, South Africa submitted an Application Instituting Proceedings against the State of Israel at the International Court of Justice under the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (‘1948 Genocide Convention’) to which Israel and South Africa are parties, including a request, as a matter of extreme urgency, for provisional measures that is currently under deliberation by the Court – a decision that is expected imminently.

Image credit: Picture: Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP

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