In an unprecedented move, another Latin American government, Mexico, joined Chile in referring Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over possible crimes in Gaza.
Santiago’s move came on January 9, and was considered a critical step, due to the political importance of Chile in the southern hemisphere, and also due to the ongoing deliberation of a similar case launched by South Africa at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
In a statement on Thursday, the Mexican Foreign Ministry asserted that the ICC is the proper forum to determine criminal responsibility.
Mexico’s referral was based on, according to the statement, “numerous reports from the United Nations that detail many incidents that could constitute crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction.”
“The action by Mexico and Chile is due to growing concern over the latest escalation of violence, particularly against civilian targets, and the alleged continued commission of crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court,” the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in the statement.
Chile had first announced its intention to refer Israel to the ICC on January 9.
The Chilean Ambassador to the United Nations, Paula Narváez, had then said in a statement originally provided in Spanish that Chile would send information about the situation in the Gaza Strip to the prosecutor’s office of the ICC, with the aim of investigating possible “(war) crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories”.
Narváez added that “all the parties involved, as well as the international community together, must work so that this war ends and that a process of real and fruitful dialogue begins that allows us to move towards the existence of two States, recognizing the right of Israel and Palestine to coexist in peace, within secure, mutually agreed upon and internationally recognized borders.”
In the case of Mexico, the government said that it was closely following the South Africa’s case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where Pretoria has argued that Israel is carrying out a genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza.
It is important to note that Pretoria has also called for a probe at the ICC to investigate alleged war criminals in Israel.
While the ICC looks into war crimes allegations against individuals, the ICJ settles disputes among states.
Mexico is hoping that similar pressure at the ICC could lead to ending the Israeli war.
“(We) trust that these actions… can pave the way for an immediate ceasefire and contribute to moving toward lasting peace in the region based on a solution of two states which coexist within secure and internationally recognized borders,” the Mexican Foreign Ministry statement said.
Since October 7, nearly 100,000 Palestinians have been killed, injured, or are ‘missing’ under the rubble of the largely destroyed Gaza Strip.