Former Supreme Court president to represent Israel in genocide claim at The Hague

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Former Supreme Court president to represent Israel in genocide claim at The Hague

South Africa announced last month it had filed a case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, claiming that its actions in Gaza are "genocidal in character"

Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu

Former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak has been appointed to represent Israel at the 15-judge panel when South Africa will make its case against alleged genocide in Gaza at the International Court of Justice.

South Africa announced last month it had filed a case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, claiming that its actions in Gaza are “genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent… to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

Israel has vehemently rejected the allegations, accusing South Africa of blood libel and supporting Hamas.

The decision to appoint Barak, 87, has both been welcomed and condemned across the political spectrum. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has harshly criticised Barak for leading a judicial revolution in the 1990’s in which the Supreme Court’s power strengthened and became more active.

Netanyahu’s government has been trying reverse Barak’s legacy, introducing judicial reforms last year aimed at significantly weakening the Supreme Court’s power.

Benny Gantz, leader of the National Unity party and member of the government, welcomed the decision to appoint Barak as Israel’s representative at the international court, based at The Hague, Netherlands, calling him an Israeli “patriot who’s always answered the call of his country that he loves so much.

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid also praised Barak, saying: “This is not the first time the State of Israel needs the mind, infinite knowledge and unique international status of Justice Aharon Barak. I congratulate him on his appointment and wish him good luck.”

But members of Netanyahu’s Likud party slammed the decision, including Transportation Minister Miri Regev and lawmaker Tali Gotliv.

“The one who went against the government and presented it in a negative light will now represent the country? And this is under the auspices of a right-wing government. Extraordinary,” Gotliv said.

Regev called the appointment wrong, claiming it isn’t “in the consensus.” Simcha Rhotman, far-right lawmaker from Religious Zionism party and architect of the judicial overhaul, also spoke out against the decision, saying: “My silence is thundering.”

The decision to appoint Barak was personally approved by Netanyahu, who has repeatedly criticised the former Supreme Court President and his judicial revolution.

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