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This British Lawyer For South Africa Explained Why It Did Not File A Case Against Hamas At The ICJ

"Hamas is not a state and cannot be a party to the Genocide Convention."

British lawyer Vaughan Lowe, who is part of the international team of lawyers representing South Africa in its case against Israel committing genocide in Gaza at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), has explained why South Africa did not bring forward a legal case against Hamas.

Lowe presented to the ICJ as part of the first day of its hearing on Thursday Jan. 11, speaking on the emergency measures that South Africa is requesting the court to institute to stop Israel from committing further crimes in Gaza as an official judgment may take years. 

As part of his speech, he addressed the question that some had brought up as to why South Africa did not sue Hamas for its surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

“Hamas is not a state and cannot be a party to the Genocide Convention and cannot be a party to these proceedings,” Lowe said.

The Genocide Convention is an international treaty created in the aftermath of the Holocaust that has been signed by 152 states, including both Israel and South Africa.

The treaty defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national ethnic, racial or religious group”.

These include:
1. Killing members of the group;
2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
3. Deliberately imposing living conditions intended to destroy the group
4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

In its presentation, South Africa says Israel has committed the first four acts and is calling on the court to issue an emergency order, also known as provisional measures, which could be done in a few weeks.

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