Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

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


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.


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.


  • 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

February 2024