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Spain Makes History as First European Nation to Back ICJ Case Against Israel’s Genocide

June 6, 2024
Meeting between the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry (Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo)


Spain made history as the first European nation to petition a United Nations (UN) court for entry into South Africa’s case, which accuses Israel of genocide in Gaza, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Thursday, 6 June.

Spain joins a select group of nations expressing their intention to intervene, including Ireland. Last week, Spain, along with Ireland and Norway, formally recognized a Palestinian state.

“We are doing it (requesting to intervene) because of our commitment to international law, in our desire to support the court in its work and strengthen the United Nations, supporting the role of the court as the maximum legal entity in the system,” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares told a press conference in Madrid.

“We want to support the court in the implementation of the precautionary measures, in particular the cessation of military operations in Rafah in order to restore peace, the cessation of obstacles to the entry of humanitarian aid and the cessation of the destruction of civilian infrastructure.”

South Africa filed its complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in late 2023, claiming Israel violated the genocide convention during its military campaign that devastated parts of Gaza.

This week, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares met in Madrid to discuss the developments in Gaza and jointly support Biden’s ceasefire proposal, calling for an end to Israel’s escalations in Rafah.

Shoukry emphasized Egypt’s firm stance and policy against Israeli presence at the Rafah crossing, highlighting it as the sole gateway for Palestinians to interact with the international community.

In early May, Egypt declared its intervention in support of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The ICJ is one of the six organs of the United Nations, specializing in conflict resolution between its member nations as well as providing incidental jurisdiction.

According to UN humanitarian sources, approximately 80,000 individuals have fled Rafah due to ongoing Israeli bombardment in and around the southernmost city of Gaza. UNRWA stated that that over 47,500 individuals are believed to have vacated their shelters in Rafah.

Since 7 October, over 35,000 people – many of them children and women – have been reported killed in the seven-month-long conflict, according to the latest data reported by WAFA Agency. An additional 79,000 were injured with many more trapped under rubble caused by Israeli airstrikes.


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