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International Court of Justice UPSC NOTE

 Legal face-off between Israel and South Africa at the ICJ . 

  • Israel and South Africa face off at the UN’s top court , after Pretoria accused Israel of “genocidal acts” in Gaza, charges the Israelis have dismissed as “blood libel”.

  • In an 84-page submission to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), South Africa urged judges to order Israel to “immediately suspend its military operations” in Gaza.

  • South Africa alleges that Israel “has engaged in, is engaging in, and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza”.

  • The ICJ could in theory order Israel to stop its invasion but it is highly doubtful it would be obeyed.

  • South Africa has filed the case against Israel because both countries have signed the UN Genocide Convention, created in 1948 as a response to the Holocaust.

  • Any country that has signed the convention can sue another at the ICJ if they disagree on the “interpretation, application or fulfilment” of the rules designed to prevent genocide.

UN Genocide Convention

  • The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) is an instrument of international law that codified for the first time the crime of genocide.

  • The Genocide Convention was the first human rights treaty adopted by the General Assembly of the UN on 9 December 1948.

  • It signified the international community’s commitment to ‘never again’ after the atrocities committed during the Second World War.

  • Its adoption marked a crucial step towards the development of international human rights and international criminal law as we know it today.


  • The definition of the crime of genocide, as set out in the Convention, has been widely adopted at both national and international levels, including in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

  • The Convention establishes on State Parties the obligation to take measures to prevent and to punish the crime of genocide, including by enacting relevant legislation and punishing perpetrators, “whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals” (Article IV).

  • That obligation, in addition to the prohibition not to commit genocide, have been considered as norms of international customary law and therefore, binding on all States, whether or not they have ratified the Genocide Convention.

What is Genocide?

  • According to the Genocide Convention, genocide is a crime that can take place both in time of war as well as in time of peace.

Is India a signatory to the Genocide Convention?

  • India is a signatory to this convention.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: International Court of Justice UPSC NOTE
International Court of Justice UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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