Belgian minister pledges country’s support for genocide case against Israel at ICJ

RIYADH: A Belgian minister has pledged her country’s backing for the case filed by South Africa with the International Court of Justice (ICJ), seeking to stop Israel’s aggression in Gaza.

Caroline Gennez, Belgium’s minister of development cooperation, announced on January 20 her pledge on X (formerly Twitter) account.  

“If the International Court of Justice calls on #Israel to cease its military campaign in #Gaza, our country will fully support it,” Gennez said.

In her previous statements also on X, she said: “Belgium pleads in the EU & internationally for permanent ceasefire, full humanitarian access, unconditional release of the hostages, respect for international law & a two-state solution as structural solution to this conflict.”

She said Belgium’s position is a “step in the right direction.”

“Our country is taking its responsibility, for human rights & humanitarian law. Meanwhile, I remain committed at all levels to making full humanitarian access to #Gaza a reality as soon as possible,” she said.

South Africa asked the ICJ to order Israel to immediately stop the war, saying Israel’s actions “are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part” of the Palestinians in Gaza.

It said Israel’s war on Gaza has violated the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Ironically, the convention was drawn up in the aftermath of World War II, during which more than 6 million Jews in Europe were said to have been exterminated by Hitler’s Nazi regime in Germany.

As defined in the convention, genocide are acts such as killings “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

The death toll in Gaza has passed 24,000 as of January 15, more than 100 days into Israel’s war against Hamas, according to Palestinian officials.

Israel launched a full-scale war on the Palestinian enclave in reaction to the surprise Hamas attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 250 military and civilian hostages.

The hearings were held in the court in The Hague on Jan. 11 and 12, during which South Africa presented its case and Israel stood to refute the charges.

A report by Turkiye’s aa.com said Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter “also made a similar call and said her country could not remain silent against Israel’s threat of genocide in Gaza and urged support for the lawsuit filed by South Africa.”

“Belgium cannot just watch from the sidelines the endless suffering of the people in Gaza. We must act against the threat of genocide. I want Belgium to follow South Africa’s lead and take action at the International Court of Justice. I will make this proposal to the Belgian government,” De Sutter was quoted as saying.

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