A protest against Finland and Israel's arms trade in front of the Ministry of Defence in Helsinki on January 10, 2024. According to the demonstrators' statement, the protest aims to remind the Minister of Defence and the Ministry of Defence of the everyday reality of Palestinians and that Finland's arms trade supports the Israeli army and the bombing of civilians in Gaza. The protesters demand Finland to cancel the purchase of the David's Sling missile system and to end all arms trade with Israel. /Lehtikuva

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Nearly six thousand Finns have signed an urgent petition urging the Finnish government to support South Africa's challenge against Israel for alleged genocide in Gaza. The petition, initiated by Sumud - Finnish Palestine Network ry, was delivered to Finland's UN representative Elina Kalkku, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, and Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen.

The call for action follows South Africa's late December announcement that it would bring Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague for genocide actions in Gaza.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for January 11–12. The petitioners are advocating for Finland to issue a declaration of intervention in support of the South African challenge.

By making this declaration, Finland would contribute to the investigation of the genocide against Palestinians and the prosecution of those responsible. This move is seen as a historic opportunity for Finland to fulfill its international legal obligations to halt ongoing war crimes committed by Israel and demand accountability for the perpetrators.

The panel of 15 judges of the International Court of Justice is expected to decide on provisional measures, such as demanding a halt to Israeli strikes on Gaza, in the weeks following the hearing. However, a final decision on the genocide accusation could take years.

The petition, launched on January 5 on Adressit.com, garnered 5,981 verified signatures by January 10. It was drafted by Sumud ry and ICAHD Finland ry, and only signatures verified through the organizers' website were accepted.

In a recent interview with Helsingin Sanomat, Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen affirmed Finland's foreign and security policy in the Middle East is based on human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and equality. She emphasized Finland's strong support for the international criminal court and stated unequivocally that Finland is prepared to condemn crimes that "partly even fulfill worse" criteria.

HT

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