Event: Free speech implications of the ICJ South Africa v. Israel case

Event: Free speech implications of the ICJ South Africa v. Israel case - Civic Space

Join us for a webinar exploring the free expression implications of the case initiated by South Africa against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention).

In December last year, South Africa instituted proceedings against Israel before the ICJ under the Genocide Convention. On 26 January 2024, the ICJ issued a legally-binding order for Israel to implement a number of provisional measures, including to take all measures within its power to prevent breaches of the Genocide Convention and to take immediate and effective measures to allow humanitarian assistance into Gaza. 

While experts around the world have extensively debated various aspects of the case and the provisional measures order – such as whether the ICJ should have issued a ceasefire order or what the implications of the order on third-party States with a duty to prevent breaches of the Genocide Convention are – the freedom of expression issues raised in South Africa v. Israel have received less attention. Yet, South Africa’s application did highlight many of Israel’s freedom of expression violations since Hamas’s attack on 7 October 2023, such as the killings of journalists, stringent censorship measures, and communication blackouts enforced by Israel. The ICJ also ordered Israel to prevent and punish direct and public incitement to commit genocide and to take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence.

Join us for the event where the panellists will delve into the various freedom of expression issues of the case; in particular

  • What are broader implications of this case for protection of freedom of expression in the region and beyond?  
  • What does the obligation to prevent and punish direct and public incitement to genocide entail and how does it relate to other obligations under international freedom of expression standards?
  • To what extent does freedom of expression play a role in preserving evidence of potential breaches of the Genocide Convention?
  • How should the ICJ consider freedom of expression violations as it assesses potential breaches of the Genocide Convention?  

When: Wednesday 6 March 2024, 2pm GMT (check your local time here)

Where: Online


  • Mai El-Sadany, Executive Director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy;
  • Yuval Shany, Hersch Lauterpacht Chair in International Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem;
  • Jiries Saadeh, leading public international law practitioner;
  • David Kaye, Professor of law at the University of California, Irvine and member of ARTICLE 19’s Board.

Moderator: Chantal Joris, Legal Officer, ARTICLE 19

Please confirm your participation by registering here

Information about the speakers

Mai El-Sadany is the Executive Director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, which brings the insights and expertise of advocates from and in the MENA region in the policy discourse to foster transparent, accountable, and just societies. She has previously worked at organisations such as the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, or the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mai writes about legal and constitutional issues in Egypt, human rights issues in Syria, transitional justice in the Middle East, and the split between Sudan and South Sudan. 

David Kaye is a professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, and the former UN Special Rapporteur on freedom expression. He is the 2023-2024 Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in Public International Law at Lund University, Sweden, and the U.S. Independent Expert to the Venice Commission. He regularly lectures and has published widely in academic and non-speciali st journals on issues related to human rights at domestic and international levels, accountability for serious human rights abuses, international humanitarian law, and the international law governing use of force. For David’s commentary on the ICJ ruling, see for example his articles in The Atlantic or Foreign Affairs.

Yuval Shany is the Hersch Lauterpacht Chair in International Law and former Dean of the Law Faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2013-2020, he was a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, where he served as a Chair for one year. Currently, he is a senior research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, co-director of the Faculty’s International Law Forum and transitional justice program, the head of the CyberLaw program of the Hebrew University CyberSecurity Research Center and the Chair of the Hebrew University’s Minerva Center for Human Rights’ academic committee. His research focuses on international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international courts and tribunals and international law in cyberspace. For Yuval’s commentary on the ICJ ruling, see for example his article in Just Security.

Jiries Saadeh is an English-qualified lawyer and solicitor-advocate (higher courts civil proceedings). He also sits as a Deputy District Judge. Both Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500 have recognised Jiries as a leading public international law practitioner. Alongside his experience in private practice, Jiries has worked as a Legal Officer at the United Nations in New York, where he litigated before the United Nations Dispute and Appeals Tribunals.

Chantal Joris is a Legal Officer at ARTICLE 19 where she focuses on platform regulation, freedom of expression in armed conflicts, and freedom of expression issues relating to national security and privacy.

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