/ 5 January 2024

Dikgang Moseneke appointed to bench for SA genocide case against Israel

Arthur Chaskalson Memorial Service
Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. (Photo by Mabuti Kali / Sowetan / Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke has been appointed to the bench of judges from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) who will hear South Africa’s genocide case against Israel on Thursday and Friday next week.

Moseneke was appointed in terms of article 31 of the statute of the ICJ, in terms of which a state party bringing a case can choose a person of its nationality to be appointed ad hoc to the bench if one is not in place.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Clayson Monyela confirmed on Friday that Moseneke, who retired in 2016, had accepted the nomination.

“A state party which does not have a judge on the bench may choose  a person to sit as judge ad hoc in that specific case,” Monyela said.

“Accordingly, South Africa has approached justice Dikgang Moseneke, who has agreed to join the other ICJ judges on the bench and hear our case against Israel,’ he said.

South African professor of international law, Dire Tladi, only begins his tenure as an ICJ judge in February.

South Africa brought the case against Israel in terms of the ICJ’s genocide covention on 29 December, requesting interim measures including a permanent ceasefire, and longer term interventions to bring genocide charges against Benjamin Netanhayu’s government.

The ICJ announced this week that South Africa’s legal team will argue its case on 11 January, while Israel will deliver its responding argument the following day.

In its 84 page application to the court, South Africa argues that the Israeli government has failed to prevent genocide, and has also failed to prosecute the direct, public incitement of genocide against the Palestinian people.

It also argues that Israel has engaged in “genocidal acts” against the people of Gaza and is continuing to do so.

More than 22 000 people have been killed, the majority of them civilians, by the Israeli military in Gaza since 9 October.

The invasion took place in response to a Hamas attack on Israel two days before in which about 1 200 people were killed and hundreds of others kidnapped.