Australia told to back genocide case against Israel’s attack on Gaza

Australia has been urged to publicly back legal action to determine whether Israel has committed genocide in Gaza.

The International Court of Justice, the United Nation’s top court, will this week begin hearing the South Africa brought case which Israel has rejected as baseless.

Independent senator David Pocock urged the Albanese government to support the case – and comply with any ruling the ICJ makes and enforcement.

“Given the extraordinary scale of civilian casualties and human suffering in Gaza and the serious allegations against Israel, I am strongly supportive of the need for a credible and robust examination of Israel’s conduct under the Genocide Convention,” he said in a statement.

“The case South Africa has brought in the International Court of Justice provides a mechanism for this through examination to occur in accordance with international law.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been contacted for comment.

South Africa will argue the war on Hamas in Gaza violates the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Israel’s offensive has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, mainly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

The bombardment began after Hamas launched a surprise air, sea and ground attack on Israel, killing more than 1200 Israelis and 240 were taken hostage.

The hearings, to be held on Thursday and Friday (local time) at The Hague will deal with South Africa’s request for an interim court order to force Israel to suspend military operations in Gaza.

But the ruling while binding would be largely unenforceable – as demonstrated by the ICJ order for Russia to suspend its invasion on Ukraine in 2022.

Malaysia, Turkey, Jordan and Bolivia have made public statements in support of South Africa’s action.

Australia’s ambassador to the UN repeated calls for a “sustainable ceasefire” earlier this week.

“Such pauses are important steps towards a permanent and sustainable ceasefire,” James Larsen said in a speech that did not mention the ICJ application.

“Australia remains concerned about the potential for the conflict to spill over regionally.”

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