11 January, 2024

International Court of Justice ~ South Africa and others v Israel

Updated 29 January 2024

On 29 December 2023, South Africa filed an application instituting proceedings against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), concerning alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the “Genocide Convention”) in relation to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

According to the Application, “acts and omissions by Israel . . . are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent . . . to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group” and that “the conduct of Israel — through its State organs, State agents, and other persons and entities acting on its instructions or under its direction, control or influence — in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention”.

The Applicant further states

18 September, 2023

International Court of Justice - Ukraine and Russia

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the judicial branch of the United Nations.

The court is hearing preliminary objections raised by the Russian Federation in a case between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. The case concerns allegations of genocide made by Ukraine. Russia has raised the question as to whether the court has jurisdiction to hear the case.

The Court to hold public hearings on the preliminary objections raised by the Russian Federation from Monday 18 to Wednesday 27 September 2023 (icj-cij.org)

Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukrain (icj-cij.org)

10 April, 2023

Benjamin Ferencz (1920 - 2023) - the last survivor of the Nuremberg prosecutors

"The defendants in the dock were the cruel executioners, whose terror wrote the blackest page in human history. Death was their tool and life their toy. If these men be immune, then law has lost its meaning and man must live in fear."

Benjamin Berell Ferencz (11 March 1920 - 7 April 2023) had a truly remarkable life. He was the last surviving prosecutor of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials

His childhood days were as a poor immigrant in America during the Great Depression. He won a scholarship to Harvard, landed on the Normandy beaches on D Day, and was present at the liberation of some of the concentration camps including Buchenwald and Mauthausen

From 29 September 1947 to 9 April 1948, at the age of 27, he prosecuted members of the Einsatzgruppen charged with the murder and ill-treatment of Prisoners of War and Civilians in occupied countries.  Originally there were 24 defendants but Emil Hausmann committed suicide and Otto Rasch was deemed too ill to stand trial. The remaining 22 defendants were all convicted on one or more charge.

The Einsatzgruppen

18 March, 2023

International Criminal Court - Arrest warrant issued for Vladimir Putin

Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for the Russia President - Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova (Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the  President of the Russian Federation).

Situation in Ukraine: ICC judges issue arrest warrants against Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova | International Criminal Court (icc-cpi.int)

Statement by Prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan KC on the issuance of arrest warrants against President Vladimir Putin and Ms Maria Lvova-Belova | International Criminal Court (icc-cpi.int)

It is alleged that they are responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

Rome Statutearticles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii).

11 April, 2022

Genocide - (3) - Further points

Previous posts -

Watching the Law: Genocide - (1) - Basic details

Watching the Law: Genocide - (2) - The elements of the offence

Aim of this post -

This post considers three further questions concerning genocide - (i) identifying the protected group or groups, (ii) whether acts of genocide always require an underlying genocidal policy by a state or organized authority, (iii) how to discern genocidal intent.

Identifying the protected group -

The 1948 convention applies to protected groups -

10 April, 2022

Genocide - (2) - The elements of the offence

An earlier post looked at the basics of the offence of Genocide as defined by the 1948 Convention.

This post considers the elements of the offence in greater detail. Links to some decided cases are provided to assist those who wish to delve more deeply into this subject.

*** The elements of the offence of Genocide ***

The elements of genocide can be considered under the headings Objective Elements and Subjective Elements. 

* Objective Elements *

The conduct that may amount to genocide is set out by the 1948 Convention under 5 headings -

05 April, 2022

Genocide - (1) - Basic details

The 1946 General Assembly Resolution -

In the aftermath of World War 2, the United Nations General Assembly passed - United Nations General Assembly Resolution 96. This began -

"Genocide is a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups, as homicide is the denial of the right to live of individual human beings; such denial of the right of existence shocks the conscience of mankind, results in great losses to humanity in the form of cultural and other contributions represented by these human groups, and is contrary to moral law and to the spirit and aims of the United Nations.

Many instances of such crimes of genocide have occurred when racial, religious, political, and other groups have been destroyed, entirely or in part.

The punishment of the crime of genocide is a matter of international concern."

The General Assembly then affirmed - 

04 April, 2022

Aggression - Ukraine

 " ... aggression, ... is not only an international crime;  it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." - Nuremberg judgment 1 October 1946

The former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and many others are calling for a Special Tribunal to be created with a view to trying the Russian President (Vladimir Putin) and his accomplices for the Crime of Aggression in Ukraine -

Press Release: Calling for the Creation of a Special Tribunal for the Punishment of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine | The Office of Gordon & Sarah Brown (gordonandsarahbrown.com)

and please read the Statement and Declaration.

Aggression - its definition and ICC jurisdiction:

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is founded by the Rome Statute of 17 July 1998 - Rome_Statute_English.pdf (icc-cpi.int)

The Statute defines the crime of aggression in Article 8 bis which was added to the Statute following the Kampala Review Conference held in 2010 

Reaching agreement

06 March, 2022

Russia and Ukraine

The Russian action in Ukraine has been rightly condemned by the British government and by most other governments, international bodies, non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International, and by individual opinion worldwide.

The United Nations General Assembly has demanded Russian withdrawal from Ukraine - General Assembly resolution demands end to Russian offensive in Ukraine | | UN News - and the United Nations Human Rights Council is establishing a Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine - Human Rights Council to establish Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine | | UN News

Links to the wide-ranging actions taken by other bodies are in this post on my Law and Lawyers blog - Conflict in Ukraine (3) - Reaction - UN, Council of Europe, EU, ICC, ICJ (obiterj.blogspot.com)


Since the occupation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 there have been - 

  • allegations of human rights abuses by Russia against the Tatar people in Crimea


  • allegations by Russia concerning human rights abuses by Ukraine and also removal of water supply to Crimea.

Tatar people:

In 2021, the UK government

01 March, 2022

Ukraine v Russia ~ 1948 Genocide Convention

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced an application by Ukraine to institute proceedings against Russia.

Latest developments | Proceedings instituted by Ukraine against the Russian Federation on 26 February 2022 | International Court of Justice (icj-cij.org)

Doc.9_Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.pdf

1 March 2022

Update 16 March 2022

The Court indicates provisional measures (icj-cij.org) - Order of 16 March 2022 - Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide - Ukraine v Russian Federation.