The eyes of the world will be on the Hague on Thursday as the International Court of Justice hears a case accusing Israel of genocide.

South Africa has accused the state of looking to eliminate the Palestinian people during its campaign against Hamas, with reference to indiscriminate bombing, displacement and the cutting of water and power supplies.

Israel denies the charge, with the case to be heard over the next two days.

Here's what you need to know.

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What is happening?

South Africa has brought a case against Israel to the International Court of Justice in the Hague, accusing the nation of genocide against Palestinian people in Gaza.

The court was established in 1945 and is the UN's highest, with 15 judges ruling on cases brought before them. For this trial an additional judge from both South Africa and Israel.

What is South Africa accusing Israel of?

In an 84 page filing to the court, South Africa says that since October 7, 2023 Israel has "failed to prevent genocide and has failed to prosecute the direct and public incitement to genocide".

Going further, the document alleges that the state has "engaged in, is engaging in, and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza".

What is the definition of genocide?

The UN genocide convention, which Israel has ratified lays out a series of acts "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group".

What evidence have they provided?

In section C of the filing, South Africa lays out 8 examples of what it says are genocidal acts.

The first is the killing of more than 21,000 Palestinians since Israel engaged in hostilities, with a UN agency estimating that at least 70% of those have been women and children. The filing states that rescue attempts have been "severely" hampered by "Israel's blockage of adequate fuel imports, its destruction of infrastructure, and the communication blackouts it imposes".

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Furthermore, South Africa says "doctors, journalists teachers, academics and other professionals are also being killed at wholly unprecedented rates", while deaths by disease, starvation and dehydration are also a risk due to the siege by Israel.

The second charge is of causing serious bodily and mental harm to Palestinians in Gaza. More than 55,000 are believed to have been wounded since October 7, the majority of them children.

South Africa alleges that "alongside its military campaign, Israel has engaged in the dehumanisation, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of members Palestinians in Gaza. Large numbers of Palestinian civilians, including children, have reportedly been arrested, blindfolded, forced to undress and remain outside in the cold weather, before being forced on to trucks and taken to unknown locations".

The third charge relates to the alleged mass expulsion and displacement of Palestinians in Gaza.

Estimates say that 85% of Gaza's population have been forced to flee their homes, with nowhere safe for them to evacuate to.

Returning to their homes is "necessarily permanent", the court filing says, quoting the special rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons who said "Gaza's housing and civilian infrastructure have been razed to the ground, frustrating any realistic prospects for displaced Gazans to return home".

The fourth is the deprivation of access to adequate food and water via the siege imposed on Gaza.

The fifth is deprivation of access to adequate shelter, clothes, hygiene and sanitation.

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The sixth is deprivation of adequate medical assistance to Palestinians. South Africa cites a UN expert who warned "healthcare infrastructure in the Gaza strip has been completely obliterated", and the president of Médecins Sans Frontières who wrote "Israel has shown a blatant and total disregard for the protection of Gaza’s medical facilities".

The seventh charge is the destruction of Palestinian life, pointing to the levels of destruction of "housing units, as well as hospitals, schools, mosques, bakeries, water pipes, sewage and electricity networks".

In the eighth charge, Israel is accused of imposing measures to prevent Palestinian births.

The document then quotes numerous examples of what South Africa says are "expressions of genocidal intent against the Palestinian people" by Israeli state officials and others.

This includes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who invoked the Biblical story of the destruction of Amalek by the Israelites - the passage says: "Attack Amalek... spare no-one, but kill alike men and women, infants and sucklings, oxen and sheep, camels and asses".

What has Israel said?

Israel says it is committed to international law.

The spokesperson of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lior Haiat, said: "Israel rejects with disgust the blood libel spread by South Africa in its application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

"South Africa's claim lacks both a factual and a legal basis, and constitutes a despicable and contemptuous exploitation of the Court. South Africa is cooperating with a terrorist organization that is calling for the destruction of the State of Israel."

What will the verdict be?

A full judgement is likely to take years.

Evidence will be heard over the next two days, and South Africa is hoping that the court will issue an interim order ordering Israel “not to engage in genocide, and to prevent and to punish genocide”.