Egypt to intervene in support of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at ICJ

Ahram Online , Monday 13 May 2024

Egypt announced its intention to officially intervene in support of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday.

The Logo of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is seen next to Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority Riyad al-Maliki (R) and members of his delegation at the start of a hearing on the legal consequences of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, in The Hague February, 2024. AFP


The ministry stated that Egypt’s decision to intervene in the lawsuit comes in light of the escalating severity and scope of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.  

“These attacks include deliberate targeting of civilians, infrastructure destruction, forced displacement, and creating unbearable living conditions, leading to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Gaza. These actions constitute a flagrant violation of international law, humanitarian law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 regarding the protection of civilians during wartime,” the ministry said. 

Egypt called on Israel, as the occupying power, to comply with its obligations, the statement said.

"This includes implementing interim measures issued by the International Court of Justice to ensure adequate access to humanitarian aid that meets the needs of Palestinians in Gaza and to refrain from committing any violations against the Palestinian people, who are protected under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide."

Furthermore, Egypt reiterated its call to the UN Security Council and influential international parties to take immediate action to halt the violations in Gaza and military operations in the Palestinian city of Rafah and to provide necessary protection for Palestinian civilians, the statement said.

Egypt has become the sixth Arab country to join South Africa's lawsuit, following Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and finally Libya, which the court announced joined the lawsuit on Saturday.

South Africa's proceeding

In December, South Africa accused Israel of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention – set up in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust – during its military campaign in Gaza in front of the ICJ.

In January, the court ordered Israel to adhere to six provisional measures adding that it found that it has prima facie jurisdiction to hear the case.

Pretoria hailed the January judgment as a victory and said it should lead to a ceasefire.

However, in mid-February, the court rejected a request by South Africa to pressure Israel to halt an offensive against the Gaza city of Rafah.

Israel has dismissed the court proceedings.

South Africa filed a third request in March accusing Israel of violating previous orders and asking the court to order an Israeli withdrawal from Rafah. Additionally, South Africa urged Israel to allow free access to Gaza for UN officials, humanitarian organizations, and journalists.

On Friday South Africa requested additional provisional measures that would protect the population of Palestinian Rafah city in the face of Israeli attack in that area.

On the same day, Libya announced that it would join South Africa in its case concerning the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Egypt has long warned of the dire consequences of the Israeli military incursion of Palestinian Rafah where 1.5 million Palestinians, mostly displaced are currently staying.

On Saturday, informed sources told Al-Qahera news that Egypt rejected coordination with Israel regarding the Rafah crossing due to the unacceptable Israeli escalation after the Israeli army's control on the Palestinian side of the Crossing.

Egypt also informed all concerned parties of Israel's responsibility for the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza, an informed source added.

In February, Egypt participated in the ICJ advisory opinion on Israeli violations in Palestine, stating that Palestinians under Israeli occupation have endured forced displacement, collective punishment, indiscriminate violence, and daily human suffering of untold proportions for 75 years.

The advisory opinion, which includes 52 states and three international organizations, was requested by the United Nations General Assembly from the ICJ in 2022 regarding the legal consequences of the Israeli policies and practices in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.

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