Lula, Petro, and Arab League declare support to South Africa’s case against Israel

Colombia and Brazil join a growing list of countries that has expressed support for South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide

January 11, 2024 by Peoples Dispatch
Gustavo Petro in a meeting with young Palestinians in Colombia on December 15, 2023. Photo: Presidencia Colombia

Colombia and Brazil’s foreign ministries announced in separate statements that their governments support South Africa’s historic case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the ongoing genocide in Gaza. The two South American nations join a growing list of countries that have saluted South Africa’s initiative to demonstrate that Israel has violated its obligations under the Geneva Convention and oblige the state to cease all such acts.

Colombia’s foreign ministry wrote in a statement that “South Africa’s lawsuit is a brave step in the right direction.” It added that the government of Gustavo Petro hopes that “the Court will rule without delay on the request for the urgent provisional measures requested by South Africa and adopt decisions that will allow the bloodbath in Gaza and the occupied territories to cease.”

The statement also pointed out that Colombia’s president, Gustavo Petro, has sustained since Israel intensified its siege on Gaza, that, “it is very clear that the actions and measures adopted by the government of Israel constitute acts of genocide.”

Read more: Israel scrambles as support for South Africa’s case at the Hague increases

Itamaraty announced the support of the Brazilian government in a statement following a meeting held between Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Palestinian Ambassador in Brazil, Ibrahim Alzeben. The statement read: “In light of the flagrant violations of international humanitarian law, the president expressed his support for the initiative of South Africa to ask the International Court of Justice to determine that Israel immediately cease all acts and measures that could constitute genocide or related crimes in the terms of the Convention for the Prevention and Repression of Genocide Crime.”

Read more: Support grows for South Africa’s case against Israel

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Secretary General of the Arab League, announced on the same day that “It is natural and logical for the Arab League to fully support the lawsuit filed by South Africa against Israel before the International Court of Justice on charges of committing genocide. We look forward to a just and bold ruling that will stop this aggressive war and put an end to the shedding of Palestinian blood.”

The leader of the regional bloc added, “I express gratitude to South Africa and its government for adopting this principled stance, prioritizing morals and human values over any other considerations… and I reaffirm the Secretary General’s support for South Africa’s efforts in every possible manner.”

South Africa submitted the 84-page application on December 29, the 84th day of the Israel’s bombardment of the besieged Strip. In the document, South Africa emphasizes the obligation of all State Parties to the 1948 Convention to take “all reasonable measures within their power to prevent genocide”. As such, it has urged the Court to recognize that Israel has breached this obligation.

Citing Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, it argues, “The acts and omissions by Israel…are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial, and ethnic group.”

South Africa will present its arguments before 15 judges of the ICJ on January 11.

Read more: South Africa takes Israel to ICJ for crime of genocide in Gaza