GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – The trial of the Century


The Trial of the Century

Sometimes great turning points in history are not recognised as such at the time.

January 11, 2024, in a case before the United Nations International Court of Justice in the Hague, commonly referred to as

The World Court’; South Africa vs. Israel
South Africa is taking Israel to the World Court accusing Israel of genocide.
This follows Ukraine taking Russia to the World Court for alleging genocide.

This trial, will stand alone in world affairs for officially determining how war will be fought from now on.
This trial, will in effect be deciding whether, or not, the mass slaughter of civilians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, plus the deliberate withholding or destruction of the means of life for millions of civilians is officially recognised as permissible in war.
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military campaign in Gaza, experts say, now sits among the deadliest and most destructive in history.
In just over two months, the offensive has wreaked more destruction than the razing of Syria’s Aleppo between 2012 and 2016, Ukraine’s Mariupol or, proportionally, the Allied bombing of Germany in World War II. It has killed more civilians than the U.S.-led coalition did in its three-year campaign against the Islamic State group…..

The lawyer, or lawyers, acting for the state of Israel and appearing before the World Court on behalf of the state of Israel, will try to dismiss the evidence that has been put before the court by South Africa, that the state of Israel is committing what amounts to genocidal acts in Gaza, instead of addressing this evidence, and trying to refute it, the lawyers acting for Israel, will concentrate instead on the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli citizens on October 7. The lawyers for the State of Israel will steadfastly refuse to address any of the atrocities committed by Israeli authorities and forces against Palestinians after that date, (or before).

Israel’s main defence for what they are doing in Gaza, will be what happened on October 7.

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The lawyers for Israel will raise the argument that the actions of Hamas on October 7 were themselves an act of genocide. But that is a diversion and not what this trial has been called to hear.

Only another hearing to hear Israel’s claims that Hamas committed genocide, can determine whether or not Hamas committed atrocities and war crimes on October 7 amounting to genocide. But even if this is proved, no crime, or crimes or even war crimes are a justification for committing genocide, Not even genocide, can be used as a legal excuse in law, for committing genocide.

“I would like to say a word about South Africa’s false accusation that Israel is committing genocide. No, South Africa, it is not we who have come to perpetrate genocide, it is Hamas,” Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu

Based on this diversionary argument, the lawyers for the state of Israel will demand that the World Court, must not make any orders against Israel from continuing Israel’s campaign of genocidal slaughter and ethnic cleansing in Gaza.

In effect lawyers acting for the state of Israel will argue that the World Court must instead give Israel their official permission for Israel to continue with it’s actions in Gaza amounting to genocide.

The other likely defence the lawyers acting for the state of Israel will raise, is that the World Court does not have jurisdiction to rule in this case.
Strangely both Israel’s arguments to the World Court mirror Russia’s arguments made to the World Court last year.

Avoiding The Issue

By trying to avoid the issue, Israel is being taken to court for, Israel’s defence of their actions in Gaza, mirrors the Russian Federation’s defence of their actions in Ukraine.

On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation President, Vladimir Putin, gave genocide as the reason for the full scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“The purpose of this operation is to protect people who, for eight years now, have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kyiv regime,” Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation – February 24, 2022
In September last year, lawyers acting for the Russian Federation defended the Russian Federation against an action brought to the World Court by Ukraine.

In defense of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, lawyers acting for the Russian Federation  presented evidence to the World Court of atrocities committed by Ukrainian fascists during World War 2, The lawyers acting for the Russian Federation also presented evidence to the court, of neo-nazi groups existing in Ukraine today. The lawyers for the Russian Federation presented zero evidence that the modern government of Ukraine had committed genocide against ethnic Russians or Russian speakers, as alleged by the President of the Russia Federation.

As of the time of my writing this post, the ICJ have reserved their findings of this hearing. But I expect that the ICJ will determine that evidence of Ukrainian fascists participating in genocidal actions 75 years ago and the existence of armed paramilitary neo-nazi groups in Ukraine today is not evidence that modern state of Ukraine is, or has been committing genocide, as casus belli  for Russia’s full scale invasion.

The World Court has already issued interim orders against the Russian Federation to halt their invasion of Ukraine.

Whether the ICJ reserves their findings in the case of South Africa vs. Israel, is no grounds for the ICJ not agreeing to grant South Africa’s application that the World Court to immediately impose emergency interim orders on Israel to stop their actions in Gaza, as they did on Russia to stop their actions in Ukraine.

Diversionary arguments are not grounds for avoiding interim orders of the World Court

UN international court of justice orders Russia to halt invasion of Ukraine



Will the World Court grant South Africa’s application for an interim order to halt Israel’s military actions in Gaza, that the World Court granted to Ukraine to halt Russia’s military actions in Ukraine?
On such questions history turns



Patrick O’Dea is a staunch Unionist and human rights activist


  1. Pat – You missed the fact that recent release hostages from Gaza all stated they were held hostage within UN facilities located in Gaza…Israel has issued a ‘please explain’ to the UN.

    • My first response; How about a link to back up your comment?

      My second response; If you think that the UN and Hamas are working together against Israel you are deep in the conspiracy woods.

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