Palestinian authorities seek to join South Africa case at ICJ

So far, the Palestinians have only sent high-ranking representatives to follow the hearings in The Hague [Getty/file photo]

Palestinian authorities are seeking to join South Africa before the UN’s top court in a case in which Pretoria has accused Israel of genocide in Gaza, court documents showed on Monday.

South Africa brought the case before the International Court of Justice last year, alleging that Israel’s Gaza offensive breached the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, a charge Israel denies.

So far, the Palestinians have only sent high-ranking representatives to follow the hearings in The Hague.

But on Friday they asked the judges for permission to join South Africa’s suit, saying it had a special “interest of a legal nature which may be affected by the decision in the case.”

“On May 31, the State of Palestine filed in the Registry of the Court an application for permission to intervene and a declaration of intervention,” the ICJ said in a statement.

Set up after World War II, the Hague-based ICJ rules in disputes between states.

The Palestinians gained non-member UN observer status in 2012.

In their application, Palestinian authorities also pointed out they had signed the Genocide Convention in 2014.

The ICJ on Friday ordered Israel to ensure “unimpeded access” to UN-mandated investigators to look into allegations of genocide.

In a ruling on January 26, the ICJ also ordered Israel to do everything it could to prevent acts of genocide during its military operation in Gaza.

But South Africa has since returned several times to the ICJ arguing that the dire humanitarian situation in the territory compels the court to issue further fresh emergency measures.

On May 24, the court ordered Israel to “immediately” halt its military offensive in the city of Rafah and keep open the key border crossing there for “unhindered” humanitarian aid.

It also called for the “unconditional” release of hostages taken by Palestinian group Hamas during its October 7 attack that sparked the current war.

ICJ rulings are legally binding but the court has no concrete means to enforce them. For example, it ordered Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine, to no avail.

Judges will now ponder the Palestinian request.

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