[Joint Open Letter] Regarding the Indonesian Government’s Push for South Africa’s Lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice
22 February 2024 11:10 am

The Civil Society Organisations Coalition for Humanitarian Support for Palestine appreciates the stance and actions of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by Dra. Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, LL.M., who continues to position Indonesia as a country that does not support Israel’s genocidal actions against the Palestinian people. We applaud the Ministry’s firm commitment to human rights amidst the attempts of superpower countries to normalise the Israeli Government’s excuse that its attacks against Gaza only serves as a form of self-defence against Hamas.

Since 7 October 2023, more than 26,000 Palestinians have been killed and 66,000 injured. Nearly 70% of victims are women and children. The Palestinian people have lost their right to live with dignity. Every day, they are faced with continuous bombings, indiscriminately destroying their homes, schools, and hospitals. 

Condemnations from international entities–such as the United Nations (UN) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ)–have failed to stop the attacks. Instead, certain superpower countries have merely strengthened its alliance with Israel. The alliances were further reinforced after South Africa read its eight demands on 11 January  2024 during the ICJ hearing. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted that ‘no one will stop’ Israel’s attacks against the Palestinians in Gaza.


Call to Action

Considering the alarming and worsening conditions of the Palestinian people, we urge Indonesia–through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs–to fully support South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel on the application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip at the ICJ. This demonstrates Indonesia’s genuine solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Although Indonesia has not ratified the Genocide Convention, the country is bound by the UN Charter as well as by the widely-accepted principle of the Responsibility to Protect–specifically by Pillar 2 regarding international commitments to assist countries in fulfilling their responsibilities in enforcing human rights as well as by Pillar 3 regarding the responsibility of each UN member state to respond collectively and in a timely and firm manner when a country fails to provide the intended protection–which must be carried out as an international responsibility to protect Palestinians from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.

Moreover, Indonesia has jus cogens as a basic principle of international law which is recognised by the international community as norms that must not be violated under any circumstances. Likewise, Indonesia has erga omnes as a responsibility to maintain peace and order in the world as well as to combat impunity within the international community. 

Indonesia has already shown its strong position in condemning Israel’s acts of violence and genocide against the people of Palestine. Therefore, these three principles and international norms should be explored as avenues for litigation in international courts.

This also provides Indonesia the opportunity to demonstrate consistency regarding its international political stance. Based on the Human Rights Working Group’s findings on Indonesia’s role in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)–from 2009 to 2019–Indonesia was involved as the initiator of 54 resolutions concerning the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In fact, Indonesia was the main sponsor of eight resolutions regarding the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Furthermore, Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia 1 in Geneva–Ambassador Achsanul Habib–stated that the discussion on the Palestine issue is among the priority agenda of the Indonesian Government during its membership in the UNHRC for 2024-2026.

On 23 February 2024, Indonesia will deliver an oral statement during the ICJ’s public hearing on the ‘Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (Request for Advisory Opinion).’ We would like to recommend several points to be emphasised by Mrs. Dra. Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, LL.M. in the oral statement of the advisory opinion forum as follows:

  • Encourage global powers and bystander countries in the international forum to uphold the principle of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ as well as jus cogens and erga omnes among countries that have not ratified the 1949 Genocide Conventions. This can be done by calling for an immediate ceasefire. This significant initial step will protect Palestinians from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

  • Encourage superpower countries and bystander countries–through the UN Security Council–to urge the Government of Israel to immediately and unconditionally adhere to and comply with the provisional measures ordered by the ICJ in relation to the application of the Genocide Convention in in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel) as well as international humanitarian law including the 1949 Geneva Conventions and international human rights law. Likewise, Indonesia must utilise its position as a member of the UNHRC to do the same.

  • At the ICJ, request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey the importance of involving all parties in ensuring optimal protection and handling mechanisms. The specific needs of women, children, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups must be taken into consideration.

  • Encourage the Government of Israel to allow and facilitate unhindered and unconditional humanitarian access to all areas of Gaza.

We hope that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia considers this open letter. We believe that the Ministry has been and continues to be a central and crucial actor in facilitating and maintaining geopolitical stability.


List of Endorsement:

  1. Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan (KontraS) 
  2. Dompet Dhuafa 
  3. Yayasan Penguatan Partisipasi, Inisiatif, & kemitraan Masyarakat Indonesia (YAPPIKA) 
  4. Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (YLBHI) 
  5. Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) 
  6. Amnesty International Indonesia 
  7. World March of Women Indonesia 
  8. AKSI Keadilan Indonesia 
  9. Serikat Pekerja Media dan Industri Kreatif untuk Demokrasi (SINDIKASI) 
  10. PPSW Pasoendan Digdaya 
  11. Yayasan Prakarsa Swadaya Masyarakat (YPSM) 
  12. Ikatan Cendekiawan Muslim se-Indonesia (ICMI) Muda Banten 
  13. Yayasan Cahaya Guru (YCG) 
  14. Front Perjuangan Pemuda Indonesia 
  15. Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia 
  16. Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) – Friends of the Earth Indonesia (FoEI) 
  17. Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR) 
  18. Bangsa Mahardika 
  19. Yayasan Plan International Indonesia 
  20. Indonesia Corruption Watch 
  21. Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) 
  22. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) 
  23. Yayasan Humanis dan Inovasi Sosial (Humanism for Social Innovation Foundation – Affiliated with Hivos) 
  24. Jaringan Advokasi Tambang (JATAM)