update deskIsrael at War

‘Palestine’ seeks to join South Africa’s ICJ case against Israel

Israel's conduct in the "genocidal war" against Hamas in Gaza "is an attack on the very foundations of the international legal order," states the application.

The South African delegation presents its case against Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Jan. 11, 2024. Source: X.
The South African delegation presents its case against Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Jan. 11, 2024. Source: X.

The “State of Palestine” has filed an application to the International Court of Justice to intervene in the genocide case brought against Israel by South Africa.

According to the application, signed by Palestinian Authority Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Ammar Hijazi, the P.A. is seeking to intervene under articles 62 and 63 of the ICJ statute.

Israel’s conduct in the “genocidal war” against Hamas in Gaza “is an attack on the very foundations of the international legal order,” the application states.

It goes on to accuse Israel of “starving the Palestinian people in Gaza” and “depriving the population of life-saving medicine.”

Nicaragua, Libya, Columbia and Mexico have also submitted applications of intervention.

South Africa initially instituted proceedings on Dec. 29, 2023, requesting that the court issue provisional measures against Israel under the genocide convention, including ordering an immediate ceasefire.

On Jan. 26, the court rejected the request, calling in its ruling for Israel to uphold its obligations under the convention.

South Africa then returned to the ICJ on March 6 with a new filing, claiming that it was compelled to do so “in light of the new facts and changes in the situation in Gaza—particularly the situation of widespread starvation.”

On March 28, the ICJ approved additional measures, ruling that Israel must ensure Gaza residents be given access to additional food, clothing, sanitation and medical assistance. The ICJ also demanded that Israel increase the number of land crossing points into the Gaza Strip for supplies.

In May, South Africa sought to impose emergency measures on Israel, this time citing the latter’s military operations in Rafah.

Echoing its Jan. 26 ruling, the court indicated that Jerusalem must “immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in the Rafah governorate which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

As noted by ICJ Vice President Julia Sebutinde of Uganda, the measure does not prohibit Israel’s military from operating in Rafah, but “only operates to partially restrict Israel’s offensive in Rafah to the extent it implicates rights under the genocide convention.”

The court also ruled that Israel must keep the Rafah Crossing open “for unhindered provision at scale of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance,” and must take “effective” measures to allow “unimpeded access to the Gaza Strip” to “any commission of inquiry, fact-finding mission or other investigative body mandated by competent organs of the United Nations to investigate allegations of genocide.”

Egypt has refused to coordinate the passage of aid through the Rafah Crossing with Israel, after the Israeli military took control of the Gaza side of the crossing on May 7.

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