Mexico seeks to join ICJ genocide case against Israel

Declaration of intervention lists 'deliberate obstruction of access to humanitarian assistance' and 'destruction of cultural heritage' as elements to be considered in case

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The International Court of Justice announced on Tuesday that Mexico has filed a “declaration of intervention” in the case brought by South Africa, which accuses Israel of genocide in Gaza.

In its declaration, Mexico stated that it “seeks to intervene, in order to provide its view on the potential construction of the content of the provisions of the convention relevant to this case”.

Mexico gave “the deliberate obstruction of access to humanitarian assistance” and the “destruction of cultural heritage” as elements that should be considered in the case.

As a signatory to the Genocide Convention, Mexico has a right to intervene in cases in which the interpretation of the treaty is discussed.

South Africa lodged the genocide case before the ICJ in December. In January, the UN's highest court ruled claims that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians were “plausible”.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has until now given a more measured response to the Israel-Gaza war than other left-leaning Latin American leaders.

Bolivia and Colombia broke ties with Israel over the conflict, while Chile has recalled its ambassador.

After the October 7 Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel, Mexico's Foreign Ministry issued a statement denouncing Hamas, saying “any terrorist act” is a “threat to international peace and security”.

The next day, Mr Lopez Obrador retreated, emphasising Mexican neutrality.

“We don't believe violence should be used," he said on October 8.

"The mandate of our constitution is very clear when it comes to foreign policy: non-intervention, self-determination of peoples, development co-operation, peaceful solutions to controversies.

“We don't want war, we don't want confrontation, we don't want violence.”

Critics on both sides have condemned Mr Lopez Obrador's reticence to take a position, despite Mexico's historical dedication to neutrality on global issues.

Pro-Israel critics have pointed to his failure to take concrete action after Mexican citizen Orion Hernandez Radoux was taken hostage by Hamas.

His body was recovered last week by Israeli forces in Gaza.

And, as in educational institutions in the US, students at prominent Mexican universities have set up protest camps, condemning the government for not breaking ties with Israel over the Gaza war.

Updated: May 29, 2024, 3:59 PM