Genocide: Chile To Support South Africa’s Lawsuit Against Israel At ICC

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Chile’s President Gabriel Boric announced on Saturday that the country would support South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

In a lengthy speech lasting over two-and-a-half hours before the National Congress in Valparaiso, Boric stated that “Chile will join and back South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, under the UN Genocide Convention.”

“I decided that Chile will be a party to and support the case that South Africa presented against Israel before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, within the scope of the UN Convention on Genocide.

“I have ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs teams to prepare a brief with our arguments on this subject,” President Gabriel said.

Criticism of Israel’s conduct in the war in Gaza has been growing, particularly since it turned its focus to Rafah.

This week alone, three European countries announced they would recognize a Palestinian state, and the chief prosecutor for another international court requested arrest warrants for Israeli leaders, along with Hamas officials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also under some pressure at home to end the war, which was triggered when Hamas-led militants stormed into Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking roughly 250 hostages.

Thousands of Israelis have joined weekly demonstrations calling on the government to reach a deal to bring the hostages home, fearing time is running out.

“The charges of genocide brought by South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice in the Hague are false, outrageous and morally repugnant,” Netanyahu’s government said in response to the ruling, maintaining its position that the military hasn’t and won’t target civilians.

South Africa was able to bring its case because Israel are signatory to the U.N.’s Genocide Convention, which includes a clause allowing the court to settle disputes over it.

Although the ruling is a blow to Israel’s international standing, the court doesn’t have a police force to enforce its orders. In another case on its docket, Russia has ignored the court’s 2022 order to halt its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The sharply focused decision sent a three-pronged message to Israel, ordering a halt to the Rafah offensive, access to Gaza for war crimes investigators, and a big and immediate increase of humanitarian aid to the region, parts of which are enduring famine.

Rafah is in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip, on the border with Egypt, and over 1 million people sought refuge there in recent months after fleeing fighting elsewhere, with many of them living in teeming tent camps. Israel has been vowing for months to invade Rafah, saying it was Hamas’ last major stronghold, even as several allies warned that an all-out assault would spell disaster.

Israel started issuing evacuation orders about two weeks ago as it began operations on the edge of the city. Since then, the army says an estimated 1 million people have left as forces press deeper inside.

Rafah is also home to a critical crossing for aid, and the U.N. says the flow of aid reaching it has plunged since the incursion began, though commercial trucking has continued to enter Gaza.

The court ordered Israel to keep the Rafah crossing open, saying “The humanitarian situation is now to be characterized as disastrous.”

“This legally binding and very specific ruling leaves Israel with very little wiggle room,” said Reed Brody, a veteran human rights lawyer and prosecutor.