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Canada supports the ICJ, but not the complaint against Israel | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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South Africa accuses Israel of genocide before the International Court of Justice.

  • Rania Massoud (View profile )Rania Massoud

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau maintained Friday that Canada “has always supported the work” of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), while asserting that this does not mean it supports the complaint of the South Africa against Israel for genocide in Gaza.

A hearing has been taking place since Thursday before the highest court of the United Nations, sitting in The Hague, which Pretoria sued last month, arguing that Israel was violating the United Nations Genocide Convention, signed in 1948 following the Holocaust.

In an 84-page petition to the ICJ, South Africa urges judges to urgently order Israel to immediately suspend its military operations in the Gaza Strip.

Pretoria believes that Israel has engaged, is engaged in and risks continuing to engage in acts of genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Comments that Israel called an absurd blood libel.

Canada has for years been a staunch defender of the rules-based international system and its institutions, including the International Court of Justice. […] At the same time, our support for the ICJ process does not imply that we support South Africa's [accusations].

A quote from Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada< /blockquote>

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As for Ottawa's support for the possible decision of the ICJ, even if it is favorable to South Africa, Mr. Trudeau recalled that Canada is currently involved in five different cases before this international court so of course we will support the important and rigorous work carried out by the ICJ.

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Justin Trudeau also affirms that his government will continue to follow this issue, which has highlighted new divisions within the Liberal caucus.

In a statement shared on social networks, Liberal MP Salma Zahid recalled that Canada has since the start of the war […] called for respect for international law by all parties. If Canada wants to give meaning to these words, we must support the ICJ process, she wrote.

But Liberal MPs Marco Mendicino and Anthony Housefather both say the South African request is baseless and unacceptable, arguing that they respect Israel's right and responsibility to defend its people against Hamas, an organization labeled a terrorist by Canada.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas following its unprecedented attack on Israeli soil on October 7 which caused around 1,140 deaths, mainly civilians, according to official Israeli data.

Since then, Israeli bombings have reduced large parts of the Gaza Strip to ruins and left more than 23,000 dead, mostly women and minors, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

The approximately 2.4 million residents of the Gaza Strip, including around 1.9 million have had to flee their homes according to the UN, continue to face a dire humanitarian situation.

The decisions of the ICJ are final and legally binding, but it has no power to enforce them.

More details to come.

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