Here are the countries that welcomed the International Court of Justice's case that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
The International Court of Justice, based in The Hague, will hold its first hearing in South Africa's genocide case against Israel on Thursday, with several countries welcoming the move amid a global chorus for a ceasefire in Gaza.
South Africa filed the lawsuit at the end of last December, accusing Israel of committing genocide in its war on Gaza, and demanded an end to the brutal military attack that killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, including nearly 10,000 children.
The 84-page application submitted by South Africa says Israel has violated the 1948 Genocide Convention, which was drawn up in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust.
Both Israel and South Africa have signed the UN Genocide Convention, which gives the International Court of Justice – the UN's highest legal body – jurisdiction to rule disputes over the treaty.
All signatory states are obligated not to commit genocide, as well as to prevent and punish it. The treaty defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
Here is what we know about the countries that support South Africa in its case against Israel, and the countries that oppose the case in the international court.
Which countries welcomed South Africa's case brought by the International Court of Justice against Israel?
- Organization of Islamic Countries: The 57-member bloc, which includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and Morocco, expressed its support for the issue on December 30.
- Malaysia: In a statement issued on January 2, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry welcomed South Africa's request. It reiterated the call for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state “on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
- turkey: Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Oncu Kiseli to publish In X on January 3 welcomes South Africa's move.
- Jordan: Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on January 4 that Oman would support South Africa.
- Bolivia: On Sunday, the Bolivian Foreign Ministry described South Africa's move as historic, becoming the first Latin American country to support the International Court of Justice's case against Israel.
- Besides countries, many advocacy and civil society groups around the world have also joined the South Africa call. These organizations include Terreiro Pindorama in Brazil, Asociacion Nacional de Amistad Italia-Cuba in Italy, and Collectif Judeo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine in France, the independent newspaper Common Dreams reported.
Which countries have submitted an ICC request earlier?
Bolivia also noted that it had earlier submitted a request to the ICC Prosecutor, Karim Khan, along with South Africa, Bangladesh, Comoros and Djibouti, to investigate the situation in Palestine. Khan said he received the request on November 30.
The International Criminal Court is sometimes confused with the International Court of Justice. The two courts are located in The Hague, Netherlands. While the purpose of the International Court of Justice is to resolve disputes between countries, the International Criminal Court prosecutes individuals for crimes, according to the University of Melbourne's Pursuit platform. While states cannot be prosecuted at the ICC, a prosecutor can open an investigation where crimes, including genocide, may have been committed.
Who does not support the case of the International Court of Justice in South Africa?
The United States has expressed its opposition to the issue of genocide. National Security spokesman John Kirby called South Africa's request “worthless, counterproductive, and completely baseless” during a White House press conference on January 3.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday that “there is nothing more egregious and preposterous” than the lawsuit. Herzog also thanked Blinken for Washington's support for Israel.
Israel's Western allies, including the European Union, have mostly remained silent on the ICJ case.
The UK, which has refused to support the case, has been accused of double standards after it submitted detailed legal documents to the International Court of Justice about a month ago to support allegations that Myanmar committed genocide against the Rohingya community.
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