Det danske Fredsakademi
Kronologi over fredssagen og international politik 25. december
2008 / Time Line December 25, 2008
24. December 2008, 26. December 2008
Lawyer Seeks Iran's Help to Sue Israel Over Gaza
by Chris Gelken
Tehran, Iran -- April 25, 2008 -- In a dramatic plea made during a
live broadcast of regional affairs debate program "Middle East
Today" on international broadcaster PressTV, an American lawyer
called on Tehran to support his bid to sue Israel for genocide
against the Palestinians.
"I would like to propose here today on this program that President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei give me the
authority to sue Israel at the International Court of Justice in
The Hague for inflicting genocide against the Palestinian people,"
said panelist Francis A. Boyle, professor of International Law.
Speaking Thursday evening on the phone from Champaign, Illinois,
Boyle said, "I think that would be one way that the deadlock at the
United Nations Security Council could be very easily broken and
could shake up the American people and the European Union to the
developing genocide being inflicted on the Palestinians in Gaza
Boyle was referring to the repeated use of the United States' veto
at the Security Council to block any resolutions critical of its
key ally in the Middle East.
The International Court of Justice was established in 1922 to
provide a venue for one state to sue another, and Boyle is no
stranger to The Hague.
"I was the person who filed the first lawsuit ever on genocide with
the World Court on behalf of Bosnia against the rump Yugoslavia
back in 1993. I won two court orders for Yugoslavia to cease and
desist from committing genocide against the Bosnians," Boyle told
"Middle East Today."
He said -- based on his knowledge, judgment, and experience -- he
could do the same for Iran against Israel.
Boyle had previously petitioned Palestinian Authority President
Yasir Arafat. "Despite my best efforts, he did not give me the
authority to file the lawsuit. I doubt very seriously that
President [Mahmoud] Abbas will either. Therefore, I am turning to
the Islamic Republic of Iran in my quest to save the Palestinians
from extermination by Israel."
Boyle declined to comment on why Arafat didn't authorize the
lawsuit, but informed sources suggested he may have been concerned
over the tenuous legality of his young state, and that a lawsuit
accusing Israel of genocide might have had negative implications
for the peace process by alienating the United States.
Boyle responded by saying that for obvious reasons neither of these
issues should be of any particular concern to Tehran.
Article II of the 1948 Genocide Convention, of which Iran is a
signatory, defines genocide as acts committed with the intent to
destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or
religious group. Clauses include:
(A) Killing members of the group;
(B) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(C) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life
calculated to bring about its physical destruction.
In his original petition to Arafat, Boyle wrote:
I am sure we can agree that Israel has indeed perpetrated the
international crime of genocide against the Palestinian people. The
purpose of this lawsuit would be to demonstrate that undeniable
fact to the entire World. These World Court legal proceedings will
prove to the entire World and to all of history that what the Nazis
did to the Jews a generation ago is legally similar to what the
Israelis are currently doing to the Palestinian people today:
The Israeli government has ruthlessly implemented a systematic and
comprehensive military, political and economic campaign with the
intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnic and
racial group known as the Palestinian People.
In the event Boyle receives an appointment from Tehran and repeats
his Bosnia success at the World Court, then the issue will be
referred to the Security Council for endorsement.
However, with the United States' record of vetoing any resolutions
critical of Israel, Boyle expects no different reaction this time.
He told "Middle East Today" that it would be a mistake to
underestimate the influence of the Jewish and Zionist lobby in the
United States, but said they are not invincible.
"We did get President [Ronald] Reagan to open a diplomatic dialogue
with the Palestine Liberation Organization back in 1988 that still
continues as of today, despite the massive opposition of the
Zionist lobby here in the United States," he said.
"If the U.S. uses its power of veto then under the 1950 Uniting for
Peace Resolution the case will go to the [United Nations] General
Assembly. And Israel will then be legally forced to cease and
desist its destructive actions against the Palestinian people."
Boyle told "Middle East Today" that the real purpose of his
appearance on the program was to extend a respectful request to
President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei to issue him the
authority to sue Israel at the World Court to stop genocide in
Gaza, where the United Nations said on Thursday it was terminating
all humanitarian services to the people of Gaza.
"The Israelis know what they are doing, and they know it's
illegal," Boyle said. "And that is really what we have to focus
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