Celebrating Feminists’ Voices, Inspiring Global Peace



Nothing Justifies Genocide: ICJ Hearings – South Africa v. Israel

Nowhere and nobody is safe as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delves into the profound implications of South Africa’s (RSA) application, invoking the Genocide Convention against Israel. The ongoing war, besiegement, and illegal occupation of Gaza have set the stage for a pivotal moment, where the international community must confront the pressing need for accountability.

Image credit: UN Photo
WILPF International Secretariat
11 January 2024

From today until tomorrow 12 January, the ICJ hearings are underway addressing South Africa’s (RS) application to the ICJ invoking the Genocide Convention against Israel. As the war, besiegement and illegal occupation of Gaza continues, for some this will feel like a small step. Those that have all but given up hope. But for many others it is a significant step towards accountability.


Against the backdrop of the harrowing events in Gaza, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) finds itself at the epicenter of a historic moment as it commences hearings following South Africa’s application, invoking the Genocide Convention against Israel. The roots of this case lie in South Africa’s 84-page filing, accusing Israel of committing genocide by causing serious harm to Palestinians in Gaza and creating conditions calculated to bring about their physical destruction. 

The filing details Israel’s alleged failure to provide essential humanitarian assistance during the conflict, including food, water, medicine, fuel, and shelter. Moreover, it emphasises the sustained bombing campaign, resulting in widespread destruction, forced evacuations, and a significant loss of life, according to Gaza health authorities. As the ICJ hearings unfold, they carry the weight of addressing these grave violations, serving as a crucial juncture for accountability and justice on a global stage.

Why is this case important?

The urgency of the ICJ hearings lies in their potential to set a precedent for addressing genocide and human rights violations on a global scale. The gravity of the accusations against Israel demands a thorough examination of the facts and a just resolution that reflects the principles enshrined in the Genocide Convention.

This case is not just about the specific conflict in Gaza; it resonates as a symbol of the international community’s commitment to preventing and condemning genocide wherever it may occur. The outcome of these hearings will reverberate far beyond the immediate parties involved, shaping the future of international law and accountability.

Organizational Sign-on Letter Calling on States to Support South Africa’s Genocide Convention Case Against Israel at the ICJ

At the heart of this movement is a sign-on letter, a rallying cry from over 800 organisations, including the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). The letter urges nations to throw their weight behind South Africa’s genocide convention case against Israel at the ICJ. It’s a unified call for justice, a collective plea to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

To grasp the depth of this initiative, the sign-on letter and accompanying press release provide crucial context and insights. They can be accessed below:

Livestream Link for ICJ Hearings

For those wanting to witness the proceedings firsthand, the livestream link for the ICJ hearings is available here.

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

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Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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