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South Africa’s Urgent Move to ICJ on Israel and Genocide Convention

Context:

Recently, South Africa has urgently approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ), seeking an order declaring Israel in violation of its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Genocide Convention 1948: A Definition and Framework
  2. Key Facts about the International Court of Justice (ICJ)

Genocide Convention 1948: A Definition and Framework

  • The term ‘genocide’ is commonly used informally to describe attacks on various communities globally.

Definition in the UN’s Convention (1948):

  • The UN’s Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, established in 1948, provides a defined criteria for the term.
  • Genocide, as per the convention, involves acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, including killing members, causing serious bodily or mental harm, inflicting conditions leading to physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births, and forcibly transferring children.

Applicability in Time:

  • The convention considers genocide a crime whether committed during wartime or peacetime.
  • India ratified the convention in 1959, although no specific legislation on the subject currently exists.

Key Facts about the International Court of Justice (ICJ)

Establishment and Official Languages:

  • Established in June 1945, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the UN.
  • French and English are the official languages of the Court.

Powers and Functions:

  • The ICJ handles legal disputes between States (contentious cases) and provides advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by UN organs and specialized agencies (advisory proceedings).
  • Advisory proceedings are limited to five UN organs and 16 specialized agencies.
  • Judgments in contentious cases are final and binding on the involved parties, while advisory opinions are not binding.

Composition:

  • The ICJ consists of 15 judges from different countries, elected for nine-year terms by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Security Council (UNSC).
  • Candidates need an absolute majority of votes in both UNGA and UNSC for election.
  • One-third of the Court’s composition is renewed every three years.
  • Once elected, a member of the Court represents neither their own government nor any other State.

-Source: The Hindu


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