Above photo: Photo of a protest in support of Palestine.
Social Movements Call on Nations to Support the South African Petition to the World Court on Israeli Genocide with Declarations of Intervention.
United States – On December 30, the newly-formed International Coalition to Stop Genocide in Palestine convened around the urgent need for nations to invoke the Genocide Convention as a way to end the State of Israel’s devastating bombing campaign and additional war crimes being committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. That effort advanced on December 29 when South Africa submitted a well-documented case against Israel to the International Court of Justice.
The Coalition—which includes Progressive International, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Palestinian Assembly for Liberation, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Black Alliance for Peace, Popular Resistance, CODEPINK, the National Lawyers Guild and numerous other groups—strongly supports the call issued on January 2 by the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Coordinating Committee (PAACC) urging governments to support South Africa’s complaint with Declarations of Intervention, which can be filed before or after the hearing, scheduled to take place on January 11 and 12, 2024.
Declarations of Intervention in support of South Africa’s invocation of the Genocide Convention against Israel will increase the likelihood that a positive finding of the crime of genocide will be enforced by the United Nations such that actions will be taken to end all acts of genocide and those who are responsible for the acts will be held accountable.
“It’s imperative that more states follow South Africa’s historic leadership demanding Israel is held accountable under international law,” said Suzanne Adely, president of the National Lawyers Guild and member of the Bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. She added, “One clear and immediate way to do that is to file Declarations of Intervention supporting South Africa’s filing in the ICJ under the Genocide Convention. The increasing global isolation of Israel and the US and their European allies is an indicator that this is a key moment for popular movements to move their governments in the direction of taking these steps and being on the right side of history.” Adely led an international delegation to Cairo last November to demand the opening of Rafah border crossing.
Ajamu Baraka, chair of the coordinating committee of the Black Alliance for Peace, which has repeatedly condemned Israel’s ongoing genocidal campaign in occupied Palestine, stated, “The action by the South African government is a courageous attempt to do no less than salvage the credibility of the international mechanisms that were meant to protect human rights and international law. The South African petition is a reminder that it is a legal and moral imperative for states and international civil society to oppose impunity. Genocide has been identified as one of the most egregious international crimes. If the Israeli state and its backers are allowed to escape justice and international condemnation, it will strip the current international system of justice of any legitimacy.”
Lamis Deek, a Palestinian attorney based in New York, whose firm convened the Palestinian Assembly for Liberation’s Commission on War Crimes Justice, Reparations, and Return and co-launched the Global Legal Alliance for Palestine, added that “This is the rare case where collective social pressure urging governments to support the South African case can be a sharp turning point for Palestine. Through the ICJ, South Africa is poised to strike a decisive blow against this brutal genocide and torture campaign led by Israel in coordination with the United States. We need more states to file supporting interventions- and we need the court to feel the watchful eye of the masses so as to withstand what will be extreme US political pressure on the Court. International Humanitarian Laws and institutions are meant to be, and must be seen as, tools for the people, not distant abstractions. People can- and should- play a strategic and powerful role by integrating this advocacy into their solidarity work, not only until their governments file supporting interventions but until the ICJ delivers justice.”
The International Coalition to Stop Genocide in Palestine urges human rights, labor, anti-colonial, anti-imperialist and other groups to increase public pressure by mobilizing to demand that their respective countries immediately submit Declarations of Intervention to the International Court of Justice. No matter how the World Court decides South Africa’s case, the coalition is committed to ending the genocide in Palestine and will continue to take action to make this the reality.
The International Coalition to Stop Genocide in Palestine is currently building global support for this effort by circulating a sign-on letter, which already has over 100 endorsing organizations. The letter can be read and endorsed here.