Spain Becomes First EU State to Back ICJ Genocide Case against Israel

EUROPE, 8 Jul 2024

The Cradle - TRANSCEND Media Service

Spanish protestors of Israel’s genocide in Gaza.  (Photo credit: AA)

Spain has been a strong supporter of Palestinians, calling Israel’s war on Gaza a genocide and recognizing Palestine as a state.

1 Jul 2024 – Spain filed a Declaration of Intervention on 28 June in the case accusing Israel of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), becoming the first European state to do so.

“This intervention is motivated by our responsibility as a State party to the Genocide Convention and our firm commitment to international law,” said the Spanish Foreign Ministry.

In December, South Africa brought the case against Israel to the ICJ, the world’s highest court, alleging that Israel’s ongoing war on Palestinians in Gaza is a breach of the Genocide Convention.

“We seek to contribute to bringing peace back to Gaza and the Middle East,” the Spanish Foreign Ministry added, emphasizing the need for a two-state solution to ensure lasting peace and stability for Palestinians and Israelis.

International law expert Stefan Talmon of the University of Bonn stated that “an intervening state presents its interpretation of the particular provisions of the treaty to the ICJ” to support one side in the case.

The intervention is submitted both in writing and orally at the hearing itself. Talmon added that intervening states can only make a statement on the treaty’s provisions and not on the content of the case itself.

Spain stated in the Declaration of Intervention that the Genocide Convention “is important for the protection and safeguarding of fundamental values and principles of international law, including the protection of human dignity and the principle of accountability, and imposes substantive obligations on Contracting Parties that go beyond ensuring the criminal prosecution of the crime of genocide.”

South Africa and Israel have been invited to furnish written observations on Spain’s declaration of intervention.

Nicaragua, Colombia, Libya, Mexico, and the State of Palestine have also intervened in the ICJ case.

The ICJ issued a provisional ruling in May demanding that Israel stop its ongoing military operations in Rafah, a city on the Egypt border where over 1 million displaced Palestinians had sought shelter.

After recognizing Palestine as a state in late May, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles described the war in Gaza as genocide during an interview with the official TV channel TVE. She stated, “We cannot ignore what is happening in Gaza, which is a real genocide.”

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz stated that “Palestine will be liberated from the river to the sea.”

Both comments drew strong criticism from Israeli leaders.

The Israeli military campaign against Gaza has killed over 37,000 Palestinians, the majority women and children, destroyed over half of the enclave’s buildings, and displaced 80 percent of its 2.3 million inhabitants.

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