ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Lawyer for Israel: Not every armed conflict is a genocide, essence of crime cannot be lost

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

British jurist Malcolm Shaw looks on during a hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, Friday, January 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Patrick Post)
British jurist Malcolm Shaw looks on during a hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, Friday, January 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Patrick Post)

Prof. Malcolm Shaw, KC, speaking at the World Court in The Hague about the nature of South Africa’s charges of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, notes that civilians suffer in all armed conflicts “especially when a side attacks civilians and is unconcerned” by the welfare of civilians on its own side.

“Not every conflict is genocidal. The crime of genocide in international law and under the Genocide Convention is a uniquely malicious manifestation and stands alone among violations of international law as the zenith of evil, the crime of crimes, ultimate in wickedness,” he says.

“If claims of genocide were to become common currency of armed conflict wherever that occurred, the essence of that crime would be lost.”

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