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In a declaration to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Colombia has requested to join South Africa’s case against Israel, accusing them of genocide in the Gaza Strip. The Colombian government stated that their goal is to ensure the safety and existence of the Palestinian people, particularly vulnerable populations such as women, children, persons with disabilities, and the elderly. This move is part of Colombia’s efforts to fight against genocide and ensure that Palestinians have the right to exist as a people.

The ICJ, as the highest United Nations court, has the authority to allow states to intervene in cases and provide their perspectives. While several states, including Ireland, have expressed their intention to intervene in the case, Colombia and Nicaragua are the only ones who have openly filed a request. Colombia aims to actively support South Africa in seeking justice for the Palestinian cause and send a clear message to Israel that their actions in Gaza cannot continue. President Gustavo Petro of Colombia has been vocal in denouncing Israel’s actions in Gaza, becoming the first South American leader to address the issue of genocide.

In recent developments, ICJ judges have ordered Israel to ensure that basic food supplies reach Palestinians in Gaza without delay and refrain from actions that could be considered genocide under the Genocide Convention. Israel’s military campaign in Gaza has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, displacement of hundreds of thousands, and a looming threat of famine in the region. While Israel denies targeting Palestinian civilians and asserts its focus is on combating Hamas, the UN Secretary-General has condemned the relentless death and destruction brought upon Palestinians by Israel’s offensive.

South Africa initiated the case against Israel in December, alleging state-led genocide in Gaza. Israel’s legal representatives have dismissed the accusations as a misuse of the Genocide Convention. Colombia’s decision to join the case demonstrates their commitment to fighting against genocide and protecting vulnerable populations in the Gaza Strip. By intervening in the ICJ proceedings, Colombia hopes to contribute to the efforts to secure justice for the Palestinian people and hold accountable those responsible for violations of human rights in the region.

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