Nicaragua seeks to intervene in South Africa genocide case against Israel pending before ICJ News
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Nicaragua seeks to intervene in South Africa genocide case against Israel pending before ICJ

Nicaragua formally requested permission to intervene in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday over the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Nicaragua argued that the country has “an interest of a legal nature which may be affected by the decision in the case.” It is unclear whether or not Nicaragua has been permitted to intervene in the proceedings at the time of this article.

Nicaragua filed its application under Article 62 of the Statute of the ICJ, which states:

1. Should a state consider that it has an interest of a legal nature which may be affected by the decision in the case, it may submit a request to the Court to be permitted to intervene.

2. It shall be for the Court to decide upon this request.

Permissions to intervene are designed to protect third parties to contentious legal suits before the ICJ whose interests may be affected. Nicaragua claimed they have an interest stemming from Israel’s alleged violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Nicaragua specifically alleged that Israel violated the Article I ban on genocide (under the Article II definition), are liable for punishment under Article III, must be punished under Article IV, and that a trial should follow under Article VI with all Contracting Parties already having enacted legislation outlawing genocide under Article V. Nicaragua also demanded that Israel cease their alleged genocide in line with the above obligations; ensure that all involved in the genocide are punished “by a competent national or international tribunal”; perform reparations in the interest of Palestinian victims and assure that the alleged violations of the convention are not repeated.

As required by Article 83 of the ICJ’s Rules of Court, South Africa and Israel—as the defendant and the party who originally brought the submission—have both been invited to release written observations on Nicaragua’s application.

South Africa originally filed the application instituting proceedings against Israel on December 29, 2023 by citing the same genocide convention. In their application, South Africa alleged that Israel had undertaken a genocide against Palestinians. In a January 26 ruling, the court found that it had jurisdiction and South Africa had standing to bring the challenge. The court also ordered several provisional measures against Israel. These measures were significant in that they ordered Israel to either end or de-escalate the war in Gaza, though the court stopped short of ordering a ceasefire. Israel has been urged to comply with the court’s ruling.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected all allegations of genocide as “vile.” He said of the proceedings:

[The allegation of genocide brought by South Africa is] not only false, it’s outrageous, and decent people everywhere should reject it. Israel will continue to defend itself against Hamas, a genocidal terror organisation. On Oct 7, Hamas perpetrated the most horrific atrocities against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, and it vows to repeat those atrocities again and again and again. Our war is against Hamas terrorists, not against Palestinian civilians.