Mexico, Chile refer Gaza war to ICC over potential crimes
Mexico and Chile expressed "growing worry" on Thursday over "an escalation of violence" after several months of Israel's ongoing aggression in the Gaza Strip in a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over possible crimes.
Hamas launched a surprise attack in Israel in October, killing 1,200 and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli officials.
The Israeli offense on the besieged Gaza Strip has led to increasing international alarm and scrutiny over the deaths of civilians, especially children. Gaza health authorities said on Thursday the war's death toll had risen to 24,620, with many more feared buried under the rubble.
In a statement, Mexico's foreign ministry argued that the ICC was the proper forum to establish potential criminal responsibility, "whether committed by agents of the occupying power or the occupied power."
"The action by Mexico and Chile is due to growing worry over the latest escalation of violence, particularly against civilian targets," it said.
Israel is not a member of the Hague-based court and does not recognize its jurisdiction.
However, the ICC opened an investigation into Israel as well as Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups for possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories in 2021.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in November that the investigation now "extends to the escalation of hostilities and violence since the attacks that took place on 7 October, 2023."
Breaking: Chile & Mexico have referred Palestine situation to @IntlCrimCourt Prosecutor @KarimKhanQC, following S Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros & Djibouti's November referral. Momentum for justice building—addressing endemic impunity vital to preventing further atrocities. https://t.co/ciYMkwjjFt— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) January 18, 2024
Mexico cited "numerous reports from the United Nations that detail many incidents that could constitute crimes under the ICC's jurisdiction."
Chile's Foreign Minister Alberto van Klaveren told reporters on Thursday in Santiago that his nation was "interested in supporting the investigation into any possible war crime" wherever they might occur.
Mexico said it was closely following the case presented last week before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in which South Africa accused Israel of carrying out genocide in Gaza and demanded that the court order an emergency suspension of Israel's military campaign.
Israel has rejected the accusation.
Both the ICJ and the ICC handle cases of alleged genocide, with the former resolving disputes between states and the latter prosecuting individuals for crimes.