More than 10 countries are supporting South Africa’s genocide case against Israel’s war on Gaza.

Spain says it will join the case filed by South Africa at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which accuses Israel of violating its obligations under the Genocide Convention in its war on the Gaza Strip.

Making the announcement on Thursday, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said, “We made this decision in light of the continuation of the military operation in Gaza.”

What is the case?

South Africa brought its case against Israel in December, accusing it of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. The death toll from Israel’s war there, which began in October, has surpassed 36,500, according to health officials in the besieged and bombarded territory.

South Africa’s case before the United Nations court in The Hague argues that Israel violated the 1948 Genocide Convention, which was established in the aftermath of the Holocaust and requires all countries to prevent the recurrence of such crimes. Such cases can take years to conclude.

INTERACTIVE - South Africas case against Israel at the ICJ-1704875406
(Al Jazeera)

Which countries have joined the case?

All states that signed the 1948 Genocide Convention are obliged to not commit genocide and also 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”.

States may intervene in a case before the ICJ if they have an interest of a legal nature that could be affected by the decision in the case. They can file a request to the court to be permitted to intervene, which the court can then decide upon.

Countries that have joined or declared their intention to join South Africa’s genocide case against Israel are:

  1. South Africa: filed the case on December 29
  2. Nicaragua: applied to join on February 8
  3. Belgium: declared intention to join on March 11
  4. Colombia: applied to join on April 5
  5. Turkey: declared intention to join on May 1
  6. Libya: applied to join on May 10
  7. Egypt: declared intention to join on May 12
  8. Maldives: declared intention to join on May 13
  9. Mexico: applied to join on May 24
  10. Ireland: declared intention to join on May 28
  11. Chile: declared intention to join on June 2
  12. Palestine: applied to join on June 3
  13. Spain: declared intention to join on June 6

Several other countries and organisations have welcomed South Africa’s case amid a global chorus for a ceasefire in Gaza.

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