Invoking the Genocide Convention Against Israel

Sam Husseini suggests ways global outrage can be harnessed to help induce a country to invoke the Genocide Convention against Israel at the International Court of Justice. 

National march on Washington for a Free Palestine on Nov. 4. (Diane Krauthamer, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

By Sam Husseini

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 U.S. public, especially at a CNN town hall meeting in Ohio, combined by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan going to Iraq, repelled the U.S. 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 the 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.

Emergency Processes

United Nations flag at half-mast at UN headquarters on Nov. 13 in mourning for colleagues killed in Gaza.  (UN Photo/Evan Schneider)

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 U.N. 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 U.S. 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 Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, and allied Palestinians figures should be viewed extremely skeptically.

It is also very odd, to say the very least, that Francesca Albanese, the U.N. 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.”

Ordinary citizens can urge countries which have been critical of Israel to invoke the Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice, getting groups and influential people to make it an urgent demand. 

Protests in New York City could include visits and vigils to the missions of those countries. Activists who have been arrested for protesting against Israel’s slaughter can ask U.N. 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.

Direct pressure on the U.S. and Israeli governments are faced by  hearts of stone. Other states to invoking the Genocide Convention may be key in curtailing the slaughter.

Palestine solidarity march in London on Oct. 9. (Alisdare Hickson, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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 U.S. and Israel at the U.N.

The U.S. would of course try to block anything at the U.N. 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 U.S. 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:

The author provides a list of emails for U.N. missions at the bottom of this article on his Substack page.   

Sam Husseini is an independent journalist based near D.C. He is on Twitter: @samhusseini.

This article is from the author’s Substack. 

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

7 comments for “Invoking the Genocide Convention Against Israel

  1. Vera Gottlieb
    November 22, 2023 at 05:58

    ANY country has the right to self-defence but NOT in such an abhorrent way. When it comes to all the years that the ZIONAZIS have attacked Palestinians, there is a deafening silence coming from the West. Hear no evil, see no evil…

  2. Valerie
    November 21, 2023 at 19:49

    “What could possibly be more depressing and discouraging?”

    Absolutely nothing mr bog.

  3. robert e williamson jr
    November 21, 2023 at 16:56

    The estimated percentage of the U.S. population which are Jewish in the U.S. is, assuming the U.S. population is 300,000,000, a somewhat aged number and assuming 8,000,000 Jews currently are living in the U.S., is 2.6666%.

    The estimated number of Americans of Mexican descent in the country, based on the same 300,000,000 total for all Americans, is 37.4 million, or 11.2%. This number represents 58.9% of all Hispanic and Latinos in America.

    The estimated percentage of Blacks, calculated on the same 300,000,000 total is 13.6%.

    These three groups total 27.4%, leaving a remainder of 72.6% for the remaining population.

    Wow, a resounding 2.6666%, what is wrong with this picture?

    Still our government continues to coddle the Israeli government by providing it with, by a large percentage, the most in foreign aid extended to any foreign country. A country with the fourth ranked most successful economy among developed countries. A country with a population of ~ 9 million, excluding Palestinians in Gaza.

    A country that has proven it’s willingness to act outside international law, topped only by the U.S.A. in it’s blind attempt to placate said country.

    So, here is hoping the the next generations will pull the plug on the Zionist money machine that encourages the inhuman actions of Israel against it’s neighbors, the entire time degrading the quality of values in our country.

    Just as I am certain the American Public will one day finally grasp the fact the JFK murder was facilitated by none other than a rogue group with in and other former members of CIA and OSS, in addition to J Edgar’s FBI, the NSA and the NSC. An action hat I maintain benefited James Jesus Angleton, his believed, Israel and CIA the most. Seems the super counter intelligence guru who seems to have gotten himself into quite the pickle.

    Then and maybe only then will Americans wake up the see this ruse for what it has been.

    Of course Israel wants the Palestinians out of Gaza, the Palestinians have oil to be had.

    Thanks CN & Crew

    • robert e williamson jr
      November 24, 2023 at 11:42

      I failed to mention that the Israeli military is ranked fourth among all world militaries.

  4. mr bog
    November 21, 2023 at 16:38

    There’s one country that stands head and shoulders above all others in its acts of genocide and international terrorism and that’s the United States. How is it possible that the living genocidal maniacs carter, obama, bush, clinton and even trump are walking free? By U.S. standards of justice all five of them are worthy of life without parole if not execution. That none of these so-called international criminal courts have taken actions against the U.S. will, one day long in the future when it no longer matters, be seen as the biggest joke of the 21st century. Unfortunately even by then no lessons will have been learned, just like none were learned from the genocide of the Native Americans. Scholars recount in horror what we did to the Indians 150 years ago while at the same time they cheerlead doing even worse things today to Palestinians and many others. What could possibly be more depressing and discouraging?

    • SH
      November 21, 2023 at 18:32

      Well actually,i think a lot of things were learned from our Native American genocide – the main one being that there has been no holding of accountability – the US can genocide with impunity, and apparently, up to this point, at least, so can Israel …

      • Emma M.
        November 22, 2023 at 10:34

        As the famous quote goes, “Those who can learn from history are free to repeat it.”

Comments are closed.