Mexico refers Palestinian case to the International Criminal Court, urges ceasefire

By January 30, 2024

Mexico City, Mexico — Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has remained publicly quiet about the Israel–Hamas war following the Mexican government’s appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate possible crimes committed by Israel in Palestine. 

On January 18, the governments of Mexico and Chile referred the Israel-Palestine case to the ICC for it to investigate possible crimes committed since October 7. While calling for a ceasefire and a two-state solution, the Mexican President has vowed not to side with either Israel or Palestine. 

Mexican Foreign Minister shared the decision of Mexico and Chile — both state parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC — to request a formal inquiry following “growing concerns by the latest escalation of violence, in particular against civilian targets” in Palestine, citing that the United Nations has documented several incidents that might constitute crimes that fall into the reach of the ICC. 

Founded under the Roman Statute, the ICC is an autonomous body that does not fall under the United Nations umbrella. The court is dedicated to investigating crimes of high global relevance, such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

However, the ICC may fail to carry out an official probe into the military affronts happening in Gaza since Israel is not a state member of the Court. 

Following Mexico’s plea to the ICC, López Obrador called for neutrality during his morning briefing on January 19. 

“Yes, what we want is peace, and we are going to be for peace; we do not take sides for any of the parties, although it sounds redundant, neither for Israel nor for the Palestinians,” said López Obrador. 

In over 100 days of offensive attacks in Gaza by the Israeli defense forces, more than 26,000 Palestinians have been killed according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Different organizations and world governments have denounced alleged war crimes committed by Israeli forces against Palestinians, labeling Israel’s actions as a genocide. 

“What we do not want is that innocent people lose their lives, we do not want that; we do not want the irrationality of war,” added López Obrador. 

The bombing of hospitals, refugee camps, and schools and the use of chemical weapons such as white phosphorus have been documented by international organizations such as the UN and Amnesty International. The steadfast targeting of civilians by the Israeli military has resulted in the deaths of nearly 10,000 Palestinian children

“And I hope that the United Nations will act, and that is what the UN Security Council is for, and it should meet with a single purpose, a single item on the agenda: to approve a ceasefire,” said López Obrador at the time.