Bolivia backs South Africa in ICJ genocide case against Israel
Bolivia is the latest country to back South Africa’s application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which accuses Israel of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
Bolivia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it was joining the case as a signatory to the Genocide Convention "committed to peace and justice".
Turkey and Malaysia have also voiced their support for the case, while Jordan's foreign minister also said Amman will back South Africa.
"South Africa took a historic step in the defence of the Palestinian people," Bolivia’s statement added.
The statement also noted that Bolivia, together with South Africa, Bangladesh, Comoros and Djibouti, presented a request to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) – a separate international court that prosecutes individuals – to investigate the situation in Palestine on 17 November.
ICC leading prosecutor Karim Khan has since acknowledged the receipt of the referral.
"In receiving the referral, my office confirms that it is presently conducting an investigation into the situation in the State of Palestine," Khan said in a statement.
"This investigation, commenced on March 3, 2021, encompasses conduct that may amount to Rome Statute crimes committed since 13 June 2014 in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem."
Khan also confirmed the investigation has also extended to the indiscriminate violence in Gaza, following the 7 October attacks.
"As I stated in my recent visit to Rafah Crossing, pursuant to its mandate, this Unified Team is moving with a focus on collecting, preserving and analysing information and communications from key stakeholders in relation to relevant incidents," he added.
Bolivia became the first Latin American country to sever diplomatic ties with Israel, accusing it of committing "crimes against humanity" in Gaza in October.
The decision was announced by Bolivia’s deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani, who condemned Israel's military conduct in Gaza as "aggressive and disproportionate".
Mamani said Bolivia wants Israel to end its years-long blockade on Gaza which saw a ban on "the entry of food, water and other essential elements for life" shortly after 7 October with only limited supplies entering recently.
Other Latin American countries, such as Colombia and Chile, followed suit, by recalling their diplomats from Israel on the same day as Bolivia’s announcement.
Latin America’s left-leaning countries have historically shown solidarity with the Palestinian cause, while right-wing and Evangelical Christians on the continent tend to back Israel. Bolivia previously cut diplomatic ties with Israel in 2009 for its actions in Gaza.
Relations were only repaired in 2020 but Bolivia became highly critical of Israel again after it began its bombardment of Gaza.
The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said Monday at least 23,084 people have been killed in the besieged Palestinian territory since 7 October, including 249 dead in the past 24 hours.