Legal experts present a united front at the ICJ, condemning Israel’s actions and international law violations. / Photo: Reuters

Ten countries have presented legal arguments at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague about South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, underscoring its unlawful occupation of Gaza.

Belgium’s legal expert Vaios Koutroulis condemned the use of violence against Palestinians and urged Israel to fulfil its legal obligations to put an end to it and bring the perpetrators to justice on Tuesday.

Israel’s settlement policy aims to transform the demographic composition of the Palestinian territory, he added.

Belize’s representative Assad Shoman pointed out that Palestinians have an inalienable right to self-determination and complete independence, which Israel has systematically denied to them.

Bolivia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Roberto Calzadilla Sarmiento, said Israel’s occupation of Palestine is in violation of international law.

Brazilian diplomat Maria Clara Paula de Tusco maintained that the country expects the court to reaffirm that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal and violates international obligations.

Chile’s representative Ximena Fuentes Torrijo said the situation that affects the occupied Palestinian territory may only find a satisfactory solution based on compliance with the charter of the United Nations, international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Israel’s policies run counter to the possibility of reaching a two-state solution and a sustainable peace in the region, she added.

South Africa, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and Bangladesh also presented at the ICJ.

Genocide case against Israel

The public hearings started on Monday in The Hague following the UN General Assembly's request for an advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from policies and practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

South Africa brought a genocide case against Israel to the ICJ in late December and asked it for emergency measures to end the bloodshed in Gaza, where more than 29,000 Palestinians have been killed since October 7.

The court in January ordered Israel to take "all measures within its power" to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza but fell short of ordering a ceasefire.

It also ordered Israel to take "immediate and effective" measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

A cross-border incursion by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on October 7 killed an estimated 1,200 people, but the ensuing Israeli offensive into Gaza has pushed 85 percent of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 percent of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Despite international outcry, Israel now plans a ground invasion of Rafah, which houses around 1.4 million refugees.