Mexico Requests to Join Case Against Israel for Genocide in Gaza

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Mexico has requested to join the case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding genocide in the Gaza Strip. The ICJ announced this on Tuesday through an official statement. The initial complaint was filed by South Africa in December, two months after the outbreak of the war launched by the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu against the Islamist group Hamas in Palestine. The Mexican representation declared that, as a member of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, it intends to provide its perspective on the interpretation of international legal principles relevant to the case that has been ongoing for the past five months.

León Castellanos Jankiewicz, an expert in International Law at the Asser Institute in The Hague, explains, “Mexico has a very clear legal interest as a signatory to this treaty, and what it is doing is communicating to the Court its intention to ensure compliance with the Genocide Convention.” The Mexican government has taken a step forward in expressing how these principles should be interpreted in the context of the conflict in Gaza. The Convention is one of the most important legal instruments in the international system, as it establishes customary law elements not only for the countries that signed the treaty but also for other states.

President López Obrador’s administration has condemned attacks on civilians in Palestinian territory while opposing the terrorist attacks that triggered the conflict on October 7. In April, Mexican authorities reaffirmed their commitment to “a comprehensive and definitive solution to the conflict, based on the premise of two states, addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns and allowing for the consolidation of a politically and economically viable Palestinian state that coexists with Israel within secure and internationally recognized borders, in accordance with international law.”

Last week, the discovery of the body of Orión Hernández, a Mexican citizen who was presumed to have been among those abducted by Hamas since last October, was reported. His remains are expected to be repatriated later this week, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE). Ilana Gritzewsky Camhi, the other Mexican held by the Islamist militia, was released in November.

“The Court has a very clear procedure in its rules and statutes: after any state requests to intervene in a case, the Court first consults the parties to the dispute to gauge their opinions. These responses will be weighed by the ICJ, and based on this analysis, they will respond to Mexico whether it can intervene or not,” explains Castellanos Jankiewicz. Following Mexico’s declaration, Israel and South Africa will have to provide written statements regarding Mexico’s participation.

In January, Nicaragua requested to join the judicial case as a party to the litigation, while Colombia made a similar declaration to that of the Mexican government in early April, invoking Article 63 of the Court’s Statute, as Mexican authorities did. As a signatory to this instrument, Mexico’s request is likely to be accepted, although the final decision rests with the High Court.

**Libya has also formally requested on May 10th, under the same arguments as Mexico. Other countries that have expressed interest but have not formalized their requests include Egypt, Maldives, Turkey, Ireland, and Belgium**, as reported by EL PAÍS correspondent Isabel Ferrer. If the ICJ approves Mexico’s intervention declaration, its representation will be able to present arguments regarding its position in the conflict, although it is expected that this decision will take time.

The UN Tribunal

At the request of Pretoria, the ICJ has ordered precautionary measures against the Israeli state, which were ratified last week. The High Court issued, among other provisions, that Israel “immediately suspend its military offensive” in Rafah, a strategic point in the southern Gaza Strip near the border with Egypt. It also requested that humanitarian aid corridors remain open to mitigate the impact of the war on the Palestinian civilian population and address their basic needs.

Rafah, the only area in Palestinian territory not under Israeli control, has been at the center of recent airstrikes carried out by the Israeli Armed Forces, resulting in at least 50 deaths. In the past few hours, there has been a new attack on civilian camps, with a death toll of at least 20. It is estimated that around one million Palestinians have been displaced to that region during the last three weeks. The Court, like the Mexican government, has warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the conflict zone.

Source: El Pais