ICJ Statute Gives Right to Ankara to Intervene in South Africa’s Genocide Case Against Israel

Thu May 02 2024
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ANKARA: Article 63 of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Statute grants Turkey the right to intervene in the genocide case brought by South Africa against Israel, local media reported. Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan stated, “Turkey has decided to intervene in the case filed by South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice.”

Israel stands accused of genocide at the ICJ, which has ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces refrain from committing acts of genocide and to take measures to ensure humanitarian assistance reaches civilians in Gaza. States can intervene in ICJ cases through two articles. Article 63 of the ICJ Statute allows states to intervene in interpreting conventions to which they are party, or even if they are not parties to the dispute.

Article 62 of the court’s statute states, “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 plea to the Court to be allowed to intervene.”

Nicaragua has announced its intention to intervene in the case filed by South Africa under Article 62 of the ICJ Statute.

Secondly, in the request for intervention under Article 63, countries have the opportunity to make a general statement regarding how the disputed treaty should be interpreted, rather than focusing solely on the specific events in dispute.

If Turkey’s application for intervention is accepted, it will be able to provide input on how the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, which forms the basis for the cases of South, should be interpreted.

Turkey’s intervention would mark the first instance among the members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to intervene in the case filed by South Africa against Israel at the ICJ, accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza.

According to the second paragraph of Article 63 of the ICJ Statute, the interpretation of the Genocide Convention made by the Court in its decision will be binding on the countries that are parties to the case, as well as those involved in the case. It is important to note that this binding decision only concerns the interpretation of the Genocide Convention and doesn’t provide a basis for future lawsuits regarding current or historical events related to Turkey.

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