Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights recently had a piece titled “UN’s Investigation of Israel Should Go Beyond War Crimes to Genocide,” in which he states that the actions by Israel in Gaza fit the legal definition of genocide under the convention.
There have been a series of calls for genocide or ethnic cleansing of Palestinians among Israeli officials and in the Israeli media. See from the Daily Mail (UK): “Israeli official calls for concentration camps in Gaza and ‘the conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters’” about Moshe Feiglin, deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset.
The Guardian reports: “Palestinian leaders poised to join ICC in order to pursue Israel for war crimes.”
JOHN QUIGLEY, quigley.2 at osu.edu
Professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley’s books include The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict and Genocide in Cambodia. Quigley was an expert witness in the trial of Pol Pot.
Quigley believes that the Palestinians should appeal to the International Criminal Court, but he does criticize the ICC, noting for example that the ICC claimed in a statement on Tuesday that it had not “received any official document from Palestine indicating acceptance of ICC jurisdiction.” Quigley noted that the Palestine National Authority had done so in 2009, the letter is on the ICC’s website. [PDF]
Quigley’s view was also articulated by John Dugard, the former UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, on Wednesday’s “Democracy Now!“: “It is possible for the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to exercise jurisdiction, to initiate an investigation already, without any more due. And this is confirmed by the fact that in the last few weeks the minister of justice and the deputy minister of justice of Palestine have submitted documents to the International Criminal Court indicating that, as far as they are concerned, the 2009 declaration is still valid. So, I must confess that I hold the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court partly responsible for the fact that no proceedings have been initiated against Israel and Hamas before the International Criminal Court.”
Quigley stressed that the manner in which the Palestinians entered into the ICC in 2009 would cover violations of law going back to 2002.
FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law and The Tamil Genocide by Sri Lanka. He said today: “The ICC has shown that the hope that many of us had for it was not deserved, it’s been a tool of the pro-Israeli Western powers. Under no circumstances must the Palestinians accede to the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is ‘Black Skin, White Masks’ a la Frantz Fanon. She will decapitate the entire Palestinian political leadership. The Palestinians will be back to where they were before the founding of the PLO in 1964.”
Instead, Boyle recommends that nations that are signatory to the Genocide Convention invoke it against Israel at the World Court. Numerous world leaders, including the presidents of Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Pakistan and Iran have referred to Israel’s actions as genocidal.
Says Boyle: “An appropriate legal remedy is to apply the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against Israel at the World Court. Palestinians have been victims of genocide by that treaty’s definition. In 1993 I won two World Court Orders on the basis of the 1948 Genocide Convention that were overwhelmingly in favor of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina against Yugoslavia to cease and desist from committing all acts of genocide against the Bosnians in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention. I won the first emergency order in three weeks.
“In the event the United States were to exercise a veto at the Security Council against the enforcement of this World Court Cease-and-Desist Order against Israel, you can then invoke the General Assembly’s Uniting for Peace Resolution of 1950 in order to have the World Court Order turned over to the United Nations General Assembly for enforcement measures against Israel.” Boyle was legal advisor to Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi, chair of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace negotiations from 1991-1993.
See: “If It’s a Genocide in Gaza, then Invoke the Convention to Stop it” by Sam Husseini.
LIA TARACHANSKY, [in Israel] lia at therealnews.com, @liatarachansky
Tarachansky is a Jaffa-based filmmaker and the Israel-Palestine correspondent for The Real News. See her recent piece “Inside Israel’s Pro-War Nationalist Camp.”
See from The Real News: “Deputy Speaker of Israeli Knesset Calls for Expulsion and Jewish Reoccupation of Gaza: Max Blumenthal tells Paul Jay that Moshe Feiglin’s program is part of a growing incitement to genocide against Palestinians.”
See from the Electronic Intifada: “Israeli lawmaker’s call for genocide of Palestinians gets thousands of Facebook likes.”