ICJ Should Consider Damaged Houses In Gaza As Proof Of Genocide: UN Envoy - Eastern Mirror
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ICJ should consider damaged houses in Gaza as proof of genocide: UN envoy

By IANS Updated: Jan 10, 2024 5:30 pm

Read below: International Criminal Court to probe crime against journalists in Gaza

Gaza death toll reaches 9,770 as war enters 29th day

TEL AVIV Balakirshnan Rajagopal, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, said on Wednesday that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) should consider the houses that have been destroyed or damaged in Gaza “as evidence of genocide” when it hears a case filed by South Africa against Israel.

In a post on X, the special envoy said: “About 56 per cent of houses in Gaza are destroyed or damaged. Northern Gaza is most heavily affected with upto 82 per cent destroyed or damaged. ICJ should consider this as evidence of genocide when coupled with public statements documented before it by South Africa.”

Also read: Israel to present harrowing video accounts of October 7 Hamas attack before ICJ

In his post, he also attached a report by the Decentralised Damage Mapping Group, which showed that 45.3 per cent (130,200) to 55.9 per cent (160,800) of buildings in the Gaza Strip were likely damaged or destroyed as of January 5.

The report also said that between 71.1 to 82.7 per cent of buildings in the area around Gaza City were “likely damaged or destroyed”.

The hearings at the ICJ scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday pertain to a case filed by South Africa on December 29, 2023 accusing Israel of committing “genocidal” acts” in Gaza amid the raging war with Hamas.

Following its 84-page application to The Hague-based ICJ — which is the UN’s principal judicial organ — South Africa’s presidency said in a statement that the country was obliged “to prevent genocide from occurring”.

South Africa is scheduled to present its oral arguments on Thursday, with Israel set to do the same the following day.

Immediately after South Africa submitted its application, spokesperson for Israel’s Foreign Ministry Lior Haiat had said that the nation’s claim “constitutes despicable and contemptuous exploitation of the Court”.

While confirming that the Israeli government will attend the hearings,National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi told local media last week that the Jewish nation has “signed the convention against genocide for decades, and we will certainly not boycott the proceeding, but stand up and repel the absurd blood plot against us.”

The US has also denounced the case, saying it was meritless, counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.

Meanwhile, Israel has named retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Aharon Barak, as the country’s appointee to the 15-judge ICJ panel that will hear the case.

South Africa has been highly critical of Israel’s ongoing military operation in Gaza. In November 2023, it recalled all of its diplomats from Israel.

Israel, in turn, recalled its Ambassador from Pretoria.

International Criminal Court to probe crime against journalists in Gaza

TEL AVIV — International non-profit, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has said that it received assurances from the a prosecutor’s office at the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it will probe crimes and atrocities against journalists in Gaza amid the raging Israel-Hamas war.

In a statement on Tuesday, the RSF said that “the office of prosecutor Karim Khan has assured that crimes against journalists are included in its investigation”.

It is to be noted that Khan is already investigating the atrocities that occurred after Hamas launched its unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7, 2023.

With the killing of independent videographer journalist working for Agence France Presse (AFP) Moustafa Thuraya and Al Jazeera journalist Hamza Wael Dahdouh, the total number of journalists killed in the past three months has now increased to at least 79, the Paris-based media rights group said.

Since the day of the Hamas assault, “”Khan had never spoken publicly about the fate of journalists. In a message sent to RSF on January 5. 2024, his office stated for the first time that crimes against journalists were included in its investigation”, the RSF said in its statement.

In its statement, the ICC prosecutor’s office assures that “crimes against journalists are being examined by the prosecutor’s office, among other potential crimes, as part of the ongoing investigation into the situation in Palestine, and RSF’s objectives and actions must be supported and are of crucial importance in Gaza and elsewhere”.

“Journalists are protected by international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute and must not under any circumstances be targeted in the exercise of their important mission.”

Confirming the development, Christophe Deloire –Secretary General of RSF — said that the “massacre” of journalists in Gaza “demands a determined response from the ICC”.

“We have found to date that at least 18 of them were killed in the course of, or because of, their duties as journalists, but only a thorough investigation will establish the immense extent of the war crimes against media professionals.

“The announcement by the ICC prosecutor’s office to RSF is good news, which we welcome. We hope that its investigation moves forward quickly and leads to concrete action: it is necessary and long overdue,” Deloire was quoted as saying in the statement.

By IANS Updated: Jan 10, 2024 5:30:53 pm
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