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Katherine Franke, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, faculty director of its Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, and chair of CCR’s board of directors, was the primary author of the legal analysis.
The document applies the convention to not only Israel’s repeated military operations against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, but also Israel’s protracted occupation of Gaza and the West Bank (the effects of which it calls “incremental genocide”), Israel’s expulsion and killing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during its founding in 1948, and racist incitement against Palestinians by Israeli government officials.
“Persons that can be prosecuted for genocide include ‘constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials and private individuals,’ and according to the terms of the Genocide Convention they can be tried by the International Criminal Court, other international tribunals (such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for Yugoslavia), [or] any court in the country or territory of which the act was committed,” Franke said.
“The crime of genocide is also understood according to customary international law to create universal jurisdiction, meaning that cases can be filed anywhere in the world, and are not limited to the territory where the conduct took place.”
While avoiding direct accusations, the briefing concludes that charges of genocide against Israel are hardly new in international legal circles:
“Prominent human rights advocates and scholars have argued that the killings of Palestinians and their forceful expulsion from mandate Palestine in 1948, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, and the violence and discrimination directed at Palestinians by the Israeli government have violated a number of human rights protections contained in international human rights law, genocide being among them.”