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Spain joins South Africa’s genocide lawsuit against Israel


Spain plans to join South Africa’s genocide lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said on Thursday, making Spain the first EU country to do so.

This is a “large-scale war that makes no distinction between civilian and military targets,” Albares said. The ‘risk of escalation increases every time’.

South Africa filed a lawsuit against Israel in late 2023, accusing the country of violating the Genocide Convention.

In an emergency ruling, the UN court ordered Israel to take protective measures to prevent genocide and also demanded that Israel allow more humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

Then in May, the ICJ demanded that Israel immediately end its controversial military operation in Rafah and that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdraw from the city in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israel has rejected all accusations, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invoking the country’s right to self-defense in response to the October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and other groups.

The war began after Hamas gunmen killed about 1,200 people in Israel. Israel responded with a devastating air and ground campaign that Hamas-led health authorities say has killed more than 36,000 people in the area.

Israel has pledged to continue its military operations until Hamas is completely eliminated in Gaza.

“We have decided to take this step after realizing in recent days that the measures imposed by the International Court of Justice are completely ignored and far from being complied with,” Albares told a news conference.

Spain is one of Europe’s fiercest critics of Israel’s war in Gaza, and Sánchez suspended all arms exports to Israel in October.

Madrid also decided to recognize Palestine as a state, as did Norway and Ireland.

Turkey, Egypt and Chile have also supported South Africa’s lawsuit, although it remains unclear when the court will make a final ruling on the genocide claim. Legal experts predict the process could take years.

Although the rulings of the highest UN court are binding, the court has no means to enforce compliance. However, it can call on the UN Security Council to take action.

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