Creating new perspectives since 2009

Belgium to intervene in South Africa's genocide case against Israel at top UN Court

March 11, 2024 at 6:43 pm

A view of the hall during the public hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on legal consequences of Israeli actions in the Palestinian territory on February 26, 2024, in The Hague, Netherlands. [Nikos Oikonomou – Anadolu Agency]

Belgium announced, Monday, that it will intervene in the genocide case filed by South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Anadolu Agency reports.

According to sources from Belgium’s Foreign Ministry, the country decided to submit to the Court its interpretation of Article 2 of the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, which defines the crime of genocide.

Noting that the ICJ had sent a letter to the States party to the 1948 convention, including Belgium, Foreign Minister, Hadja Lahbib said: “Belgium wishes to participate in this and share its interpretation of Article 2 of the Convention.”

“The issue here is, it is not about taking sides in favour or against one or the other party. It is about strengthening the universality of international agreements to which states are parties,” she underlined.

The sources noted that, while no date or content has yet been set for the intervention, the process of doing so could take months.

Article 63 of the ICJ Statute gives States the right to intervene when it comes to interpreting conventions to which they are party, even if they are not parties to the dispute.

Israel is accused of genocide at the ICJ. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip since 7 October, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

According to local health authorities, more than 31,100 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in the Israeli war on Gaza, and over 72,700 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli onslaught has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of most food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

READ: South Africa says Israel is not implementing ICJ ruling