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Lawsuit Targets Biden Administration Over Complicity In Gaza Genocide

Above photo: Joe Biden, joined by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, delivers remarks on January 25, 2023, in the White House. Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith. 

The Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a lawsuit against U.S. President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Targets them for failure to prevent, and complicity in, genocide.

A U.S. nonprofit has taken legal action against the Biden administration over support for Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza.

On Monday the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit in Northern District of California against U.S. President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for failure to prevent genocide and complicity in genocide.

Plaintiffs include the human rights groups Defense for Children International–Palestine (DCIP) and Al-Haq, Great March of Return founder Ahmed Abu Artema, founder of the 2018 Great March of Return, Nasser Medical Complex physician Dr. Omar Al-Najjar, and DCIP field researcher Mohammed Ahmed Abu Rokbeh.

“To be honest, it’s difficult to revisit all the scenes of the past weeks. They open a door to hell when I recall them,” said Al-Najjar in a statement. “I’ve lost five relatives, treated too many children who are the sole survivors of their families, received the bodies of my fellow medical students and their families, and seen the hospital turn into a shelter for tens of thousands of people as we all run out of fuel, electricity, food, and water. The U.S. has to stop this genocide. Everyone in the world has to stop this.”

More than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since Hamas’s October 7 attack. The United States government gives the country more than $3.8 billion in military aid annually, and Biden is currently lobbying Congress for another $14.5 billion. Last week, the president told reporters that there is “no possibility” of The White House calling for a ceasefire.

“Genocide, the gravest of crimes under international law, defined in the Genocide Convention and implemented in U.S. domestic law at 18 U.S.C. § 1091 upon ratification, constitutes certain acts ‘committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part a national ethnical, racial or religious group as such’ by, among other things: (i) killing members of the group, (ii) deliberating inflicting upon the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and (iii) causing serious bodily or mental harm,” reads the complaint. “For the past 38 days, the world has watched senior Israeli officials use dehumanizing language in connection with their expressed intent to destroy and displace Palestinians in Gaza while imposing an unrelenting siege, and intentionally depriving Palestinians the conditions of life necessary for human survival. The Israeli military has dropped an estimated 25,000 tons of explosives on Palestinians in Gaza – the approximate explosive power of two nuclear bombs.”

“For the last five weeks, President Biden and Secretaries Blinken and Austin have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with an Israeli government that has made clear its intention to destroy the Palestinian population in Gaza. As neighborhood after neighborhood, hospital after hospital, and sheltering displaced Palestinians were bombed, while subject to a total siege and closure that denies 2.2 million people basic necessities for life, they have continued to provide both military and political support for Israel’s unfolding genocidal campaign while imposing no red lines,” said CCR attorney Katherine Gallagher. “The United States has a clear and binding obligation to prevent, not further, genocide. So far, they have failed in both their legal, moral duty and considerable power to end this horror. They must do so.”

In an October piece for Jewish Currents Raz Segal, an associate professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at Stockton University and the endowed professor in the study of modern genocide, called Israel’s assault on Gaza “textbook case” of genocide.

“Israel’s goal is to destroy the Palestinians of Gaza,” wrote Segal. “And those of us watching around the world are derelict in our responsibility to prevent them from doing so.”

William Schabas, the world’s leading legal expert on genocide, wrote in his declaration in the case, “I conclude that there is a serious risk of genocide committed against the Palestinian population of Gaza and that the United States of America is in breach of its obligation, under both the 1948 Genocide Convention to which it is a party as well as customary international law, to use its position of influence with the Government of Israel and to take the best measures within its power to prevent the crime taking place.”

Earlier this month CCR, Palestine Legal, and the National Lawyers Guild wrote a letter warning congressional members that they faced potential legal liability if they backed Biden’s emergency military package to Israel.

“Please take notice that should you vote in favor of that package, you risk facing criminal and civil liability for aiding and abetting genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law, and may face investigation and prosecution at the International Criminal Court, and in third-states under the principle of universal jurisdiction,” it read.

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