What is genocide and why is South Africa taking a case against Israel?

The first hearing at the International Court of Justice will take place today

Listen | 27:45

On Thursday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will begin hearings in a case brought by South Africa that accuses Israel of committing genocide in Gaza.

South Africa is calling for Israel to end its military operation in Gaza that has left 20,000 people dead, and millions more displaced and hungry.

In its application to the ICJ, South Africa says the actions of the Israeli military are in breach of the 1948 Genocide Convention, and that its campaign against Hamas includes “specific intent ... to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group”. Israel has categorically rejected these allegations.

But what exactly does genocide mean and what is the role of the ICJ in hearing and responding to this case?


And why has Ireland, one of the most vocal opponents of Israel’s war on Gaza since October, decided not to support this case?

Professor Shane Darcy, Deputy Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the University of Galway, joins In the News to discuss the ICJ genocide hearing and the significance of the South African case against Israel.

Today, on In the News: What is genocide and why is South Africa taking this case against Israel?

Presented by Sorcha Pollak. Produced by Suzanne Brennan and Declan Conlon.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast