The ICC is a “puppet institution”. What’s needed is a country to invoke the Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice. Here’s how, with argument, phone numbers, addresses and emails.
Some of the greatest successes in recent human history have combined protest movements with strong diplomatic moves.
In February 1998, the Clinton administration seemed poised to inflict a massive attack on Iraq, but vocal opposition from the US public, especially at a CNN town hall meeting in Ohio, combined by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan going to Iraq, repelled the US government attack.
The following year, in the Battle of Seattle, combined protests in the streets and delegations from the global south finding their backbone resulted in the World Trade Organization’s plans collapsing. This was a major setback for global corporate interests.
There is now effectively a global movement, largely based around mass protests, to stop Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.
Several countries, including South Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros, Djibouti as well as Colombia and Algeria and Turkey have moved for the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli officials.
The problem is that ICC has been dragging its heels for years on prosecuting Israelis. It has been called a “white man’s court” after only going after Africans, and, after letting Israel off the hook during an earlier assault on Gaza, “a hoax”. Some of these nations have called Israel’s war crimes “genocide”. They should act on their words and invoke the relevant treaty. Other nations that have been especially critical of Israel are Pakistan, Brazil, Chile, Belize, Jordan, Chad, Honduras, Bahrain, Venezuela, Iran, and Cuba.
The International Court of Justice, also called the World Court, in contrast has ruled against Israel. But so far these rulings have been advisory opinions. It ruled against Israel in a case regarding its wall in 2004. In another case before it, is expected to rule against Israel’s long term policies.
But what can be done now, Prof. Francis Boyle, who successfully represented the Bosnians before the World Court, argues is to use emergency processes to give more teeth to the World Court. This can be done by invoking the Genocide Convention. This is outlined by Boyle, noted by UN whistleblower Craig Mokhiber, backed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, and written about by myself. And most recently by Craig Murray, now a human rights activist who was the British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee.
Murray just wrote the piece “Activating the Genocide Convention” which states: “There are 149 states party to the Genocide Convention. Every one of them has the right to call out the genocide in progress in Gaza and report it to the United Nations. In the event that another state party disputes the claim of genocide — and Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom are all states party — then the International Court of Justice [also called the World Court] is required to adjudicate on ‘the responsibility of a State for genocide.’”
Murray quotes from the Genocide Convention and cites evidence that Israel is conducting genocide and that the US and British governments are at minimum complicit in that. He then states: “The International Court of Justice is the most respected of international institutions; while the United States has repudiated its compulsory jurisdiction, the United Kingdom has not and the EU positively accepts it.
“If the International Court of Justice makes a determination of genocide, then the International Criminal Court does not have to determine that genocide has happened. This is important because unlike the august and independent ICJ, the ICC is very much a western government puppet institution which will wiggle out of action if it can. But a determination of the ICJ of genocide and of complicity in genocide would reduce the ICC’s task to determining which individuals bear the responsibility. That is a prospect which can indeed alter the calculations of politicians.
“It is also the fact that a reference for genocide would force the western media to address the issue and use the term, rather than just pump out propaganda about Hamas fighting bases in hospitals. …
“I am afraid the question of why Palestine has not invoked the Genocide Convention takes us somewhere very dark. … It is Fatah who occupy the Palestinian seat at the United Nations, and the decision for Palestine to call into play the Genocide Convention lies with Mahmoud Abbas. It is more and more difficult daily to support Abbas. He seems extraordinarily passive, and the suspicion that he is more concerned with refighting the Palestinian civil war than with resisting the genocide is impossible to shake. By invoking the Genocide Convention he could put himself and Fatah back at the centre of the narrative. But he does nothing. I do not want to believe that corruption and a Blinken promise of inheriting Gaza are Mahmoud’s motivators. But at the moment, I cannot grab on to any other explanation to believe in.”
Thus speeches from Abbas and allied Palestinians figures should be viewed extremely skeptically. It is also very odd, to say the very least, that Francesca Albanese, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, and other officials put out a statement “Gaza: UN experts call on international community to prevent genocide against the Palestinian people” — but make no mention whatever of the Genocide Convention.
As Murray writes: “Any one of the 139 states party could invoke the Genocide Convention against Israel and its co-conspirators. Those states include Iran, Russia, Libya, Malaysia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Afghanistan, Cuba, Ireland, Iceland, Jordan, South Africa, Turkey and Qatar. But not one of these states has called out the genocide [by invoking the Convention]. Why?
“It is not because the Genocide Convention is a dead letter. It is not. It was invoked against Serbia by Bosnia and Herzegovina and the ICJ ruled against Serbia with regard to the massacre at Srebrenica.” Murray notes that this helped lead to prosecutions.
He adds: “Some states may simply not have thought of it. For Arab states in particular, the fact that Palestine itself has not invoked the Genocide Convention may provide an excuse. EU states can hide behind bloc unanimity.
“But I am afraid that the truth is that no state cares sufficiently about the thousands of Palestinian children already killed and thousands more who will shortly be killed, to introduce another factor of hostility in their relationship with the United States. Just as at [the recent] summit in Saudi Arabia, where Islamic countries could not agree [on] an oil and gas boycott of Israel, the truth is that those in power really do not care about a genocide in Gaza. They care about their own interests.
“It just needs one state to invoke the Genocide Convention and change the narrative and the international dynamic. That will only happen through the power of the people in pressing the idea on their governments. This is where everybody can do a little something to add to the pressure. Please do what you can.”
What can you do? Urge countries which have been critical of Israel to invoke the Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice. Get groups and influential people to make this a primary ask.
Protests in NYC should include visits and vigils to the missions of those countries. Activists who have been arrested for protesting against Israel’s slaughter can ask UN officials from countries critical of Israel to invoke the Genocide Convention.
Palestinians in Ramallah may be able to directly contact the representatives of various countries to Palestine.
This can be done anywhere. Protests in London can respectfully appeal to the embassies of various countries critical of Israel.
We need to keep pressing directly against the US and Israeli governments, but their hearts are like stone. If we reach other states to invoke the Genocide Convention, it may be a key stop in curtailing the slaughter.
Moreover, it could be a turning point in global relations. Should a positive emergency ruling by the International Court of Justice be forthcoming, it would dramatically isolate the US and Israel at the UN. The US would of course try to block anything at the UN Security Council. But with a World Court ruling, Boyle argues, the stage would be set for the General Assembly to assert itself using the Uniting for Peace procedure. Combined with sustained protests, like the WTO and other critical confrontations, the costs of continuing the slaughter could become unsustainable. Moreover, a World Court ruling could facilitate other legal efforts, like universal jurisdiction.
For all that to happen, a country needs to step forward and invoke the Genocide Convention.
Make no mistake; any nation that does this may well be targeted in insidious ways by the US and by Israel. Any such nation should be afforded every bit of support people of goodwill can muster.
Here’s a website that seems to list all the embassies and other diplomatic missions around the world. People from anywhere can be emailing, calling and going to these embassies and missions, urging these countries to use every legal mechanism to pressure Israel to stop, including invoking the Genocide Convention: embassy-worldwide.com.
A friend extracted emails of missions to the UN:
Emails of embassies to and from Palestine via this page.
Disclaimer: To Save Gaza, Invoke the Genocide Convention by SAM HUSSEINI - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view