TODAY marks a critical moment in the pursuit of justice for Palestine as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) begins its oral argument trial in a case filed by South Africa, invoking the Genocide Convention in response to Israel’s ongoing military assault in Gaza.
Today, South Africa will present its arguments, followed by Israel on Friday. This is an urgent call to action for solidarity with the Palestinians and an opportunity to pressure governments worldwide for their complicity with Israel’s actions.
As we unite as a global movement, it is crucial to acknowledge that today is not only a significant moment for the international community but also a critical juncture for Malaysia.
The Malaysian Government must go beyond being a passive observer and consider the possibility of intervention in this case, recognising the responsibility and opportunity to contribute to the pursuit of justice.
The Statute of the ICJ provides two avenues for a State to intervene:
– Article 62 Intervention where a State can submit a request under Article 62 if it believes it has a legal interest affected by the case.
The ICJ will decide on the request based on the conditions in Article 62, with discretion limited by the lack of clarity over the conditions.
Applications for intervention under Article 62 are rare, making up only 8% of cases, with only three granted historically.
– Article 63 Intervention provides for an avenue that allows a State Party to a relevant convention to intervene when the construction of that convention is in question.
States have the right to intervene under Article 63, with declarations filed in only 3% of cases, and two of those were found to be admissible.
Contracting states to the ICJ’s Statute have pre-consented to the Court’s competence to rule on interventions under Article 62 and Article 63.
Historically, attempts to intervene under both Article 62 and Article 63 are rare, highlighting the significance and impact that active participation by a concerned state can have in shaping the court’s decisions.
Malaysia can take a prior step by requesting copies of pleadings and documents in the case under Article 53(1) to provide an opportunity to stay informed and engaged in the proceedings. The ICJ hearings will be streamed live and on-demand on the court’s website and the United Nations (UN) Web TV.
We urge Malaysians to follow these proceedings closely to amplify the voices of those advocating for justice and send a clear message to governments worldwide that they, too, could be held liable for violations of the Genocide Convention.
AZRIL MOHD. AMIN
Founder and chairman of Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy