Colombia joins Algeria in filing legal complaint against Israel in International Criminal Court

Several countries have taken steps to formally denounce the Israeli genocide of Gaza, some steps more assertive than others

November 15, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Colombian President Gustavo Petro denounced Netanyahu's "massacre of children" (Photo: World Economic Forum)

Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced on November 9 that Colombia would support Algeria’s case in the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel. “The Republic of Colombia will cooperate with the complaint filed by the Republic of Algeria before the International Criminal Court for war crimes against Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu for the massacre of children and civilians of the Palestinian people,” announced Petro. 

On November 7, Algeria had called on the ICC to hold Israel accountable for its crimes in Gaza. “Where is humanity? And where is the global conscience that has become absent regarding the genocide being committed?” asked Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

The initiative of the two nations has come in the context of various countries and organizations around the world denouncing Israel, severing diplomatic relations in some capacity, and calling for an investigation in the ICC. 

On February 5, 2021, the ICC opened an investigation regarding the situation in Palestine, but the investigation did not advance following pressure, such as the United States’ opposition. The US claimed that the “ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter.”

Three Palestinian organisations, al-Haq, al-Mezan, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, filed a lawsuit with the ICC on November 9, asking the Court to investigate the crimes of “apartheid” and “genocide” by Israel. They have asked the Court to issue arrest warrants against Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who dubbed Gazans “human animals” before laying siege on them. ICC lead prosecutor Karim Khan KC has yet to respond to the lawsuit. 

The Palestinian BDS National Committee has called for Khan’s firing, for his “​​years long failure to prosecute Israeli war criminals and the Prosecutor Karim Khan QC’s recent op-ed further exposing his utter hypocrisy in favor of apartheid Israel & its Western patrons.”

There have also been moves to isolate Israel diplomatically. On October 31, Bolivia became the first Latin American country since October 7 to sever ties with Israel. South Africa recently withdrew all of its diplomats from Israel, and has summoned the Israeli Ambassador to Pretoria in connection with recent alleged conduct relating to the Israeli genocide in Gaza. Israeli Ambassador Belotsercovsky has been accused of making disparaging remarks about those who denounce attacks on Palestinians. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Turkey will do everything to bring Israel’s war crimes to the ICC.

“I said something in my speech at the Palestine Rally. I announced that we would support initiatives that would bring Israel’s human rights violations and war crimes to the International Criminal Court. Our relevant authorities, especially our Foreign Ministry, will carry out this work,” Erdogan said.