Türkiye set to make statement at ICJ on Israel’s atrocities in Gaza - M5 Dergi
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Türkiye set to make statement at ICJ on Israel’s atrocities in Gaza

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The Foreign Ministry will represent Türkiye at the International Court of Justice, which now handles a case against Israel for its aggression targeting the Palestinians, as countries are set to make oral presentations in upcoming hearings.

Türkiye’s fight to end Israel’s atrocities that have killed thousands of Palestinians since Oct. 7 will take another turn on Feb. 26. The Foreign Ministry will join 52 representatives of 52 countries that will make oral statements at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at a Feb. 26 hearing. The hearing is on the legal consequences of Israel’s actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, actions that amount to war crimes and genocide, according to Ankara.

Cüneyt Yüksel, a lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) who heads the Justice Committee of Parliament, said Türkiye’s statement would focus on the illegal actions of Israel. Speaking at a news conference at Parliament on Thursday, Yüksel reminded that South Africa took action to take Israel to the ICJ on charges of genocide and appealed to the court again recently for additional measures to stop Israel from imminent attacks targeting Palestine’s Rafah.

Yüksel said Türkiye was closely following developments and as members of Parliament, they would also be present at the hearing in support of Palestine.

The lawmaker was among the top jurists from Türkiye who brought a case against the Israeli administration over the Gaza atrocities to the International Criminal Court (ICC) last November. Türkiye has been a staunch defender of the Palestinian cause and continues diplomatic and legal efforts to resolve the conflict.

A delegation of 15 legal experts presented a file to The Hague listing Israel’s war crimes in November, citing evidence obtained on-site from Gaza, including notary-approved testimonies from the injured, civilians living there interviewed by phone, and information from journalists who currently serve in the enclave and witness Israeli attacks firsthand.

As Israel continues preparing for a potentially catastrophic ground offensive in the Gaza Strip’s southernmost city, South Africa has said its actions show it is not complying with previous orders by the U.N.’s top court to prevent genocide in Palestine.

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said her country is horrified at what has been happening to people in the enclave, including in the city of Rafah on its southern border with Egypt, as well as in the occupied West Bank.

“We believe this confirms the allegations we have tabled before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that genocide is underway in the occupied Palestinian territories and clearly, the actions of the Israeli government prove that what we have said is actually accurate,” Pandor told reporters on the sidelines of the African Union Executive Council meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia earlier this week.

In late 2023, South Africa filed a case at the top U.N. court in The Hague, accusing Israel of failing to uphold its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention. In its interim ruling in January, the court found South Africa’s claims plausible. It ordered Israel’s government to cease genocidal acts and to take steps to ensure that civilians in Gaza receive humanitarian assistance. Now, international warnings are escalating regarding Israeli bombardment of the city of Rafah amid preparations for a ground invasion.

“What is of great concern is that the world is allowing Israel to ignore the rulings of the International Court of Justice and no one is taking any measure to place a force in Palestine, that would be a peace enforcement force, to protect the innocent civilians who have caused no harm whatsoever to Israel,” Pandor said.

South Africa on Monday requested the ICJ to urgently assess Israel’s intentions in expanding its military presence in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, urging the court to consider whether it must use its power to prevent further breach of Palestinians’ rights. Pretoria said it was “gravely concerned that the unprecedented military offensive against Rafah, as announced by the State of Israel, has already led to and will result in further large-scale killing, harm and destruction. This would be a serious and irreparable breach both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court’s Order of 26 January 2024.”

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