October 18, 2023, Geneva, Switzerland – On the heels of President Biden’s visit to Israel and as the Palestinian death toll in Gaza passes 3,300, expert attorneys from the U.S.-based Center for Constitutional Rights released a legal and factual analysis of Israel’s unfolding crime of genocide against the Palestinian people and U.S. complicity in this grave international law violation. The emergency briefing paper comes soon after the U.S veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning both Hamas’s attack on Israel and all violence against civilians and calling for humanitarian access to Gaza. It also comes as President Biden seeks to secure additional, unconditional military support for Israel.
According to the emergency briefing paper, there is a credible case, based on powerful evidence, that Israel is attempting to commit or committing genocide in the occupied Palestinian territory, and specifically against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. The United States has a duty under Article 1 of the 1948 Genocide Convention to prevent acts of genocide, an obligation that has been domestically implemented through U.S. criminal law. The legal and factual analysis provided by the Center for Constitutional Rights describes how, through its ongoing unconditional military, diplomatic, and political support to Israel, the United States is not only failing to prevent genocide, but is complicit. Under international law, the United States – and responsible U.S. citizens, including and up to the President – can be held accountable for their role in furthering genocide.
According to the International Court of Justice, “a State’s obligation to prevent [genocide], and the corresponding duty to act, arise at the instant that the State learns of, or should normally have learned of, the existence of a serious risk that genocide will be committed.” States are required to take all measures “reasonably available to them” to prevent this risk from that moment onward, “if the State has available to it means likely to have a deterrent effect on those suspected of preparing genocide, or reasonably suspected of harbouring specific intent.”
As scholars and observers increasingly warn of genocide, and as protestors rise up against Israel’s gravest atrocities against Palestinians since 1948, the Center for Consitutional Rights has been asked by Palestinian partners on the ground to offer this analysis as we strengthen our collective efforts towards accountability and freedom. The emergency briefing paper calls on the United States to take all necessary measures to secure a ceasefire, pressure Israel to end all military operations, end all U.S. military aid to Israel, and ensure the provision to Palestinians in Gaza of urgently needed basic necessities for life. The experts also stress in the briefing paper the urgent need to address the root causes of the current catastrophe, especially the 16-year closure of Gaza, the 56-year illegal occupation, and the apartheid regime across all of historic Palestine.
The emergency briefing paper will be submitted to national and international stakeholders, including the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. It will also be sent to President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and other U.S. officials and relevant agencies. Read the emergency legal briefing paper here. For more information, see our resource page.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.