News Release

On Israel: Lawyer Who Applied Genocide Convention for Bosnia Recommends it Now for Palestinians


The U.S. government has twice vetoed calls for a ceasefire during the current crisis at the UN Security Council.

Al Jazeera reports: “Nearly 90 countries were on the speakers’ list for Tuesday’s debate including about 30 foreign ministers and deputy ministers, with many echoing calls for a ceasefire and a halt to attacks on Palestinian civilians amid widespread destruction in Gaza and the mounting death toll.”

Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. His books include The Bosnian People Charge Genocide (1996) Palestine, Palestinians and International Law (2009) and World Politics, Human Rights and International Law (2021).

He said today: “The U.S. government is clearly preventing the UN Security Council from fulfilling its rightful function and declaring a ceasefire by use of the U.S. veto. The U.S. government has also corrupted the International Criminal Court, which the Palestinians signed on to, so the ICC is not helping the Palestinians as it is obliged to do.

“There is another set of legal mechanisms, however. The Provisional Government for the State of Palestine or some other party to the Genocide Convention should apply that to Israel. That is what I did for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Palestinians should immediately institute legal proceedings against Israel before the International Court of Justice in The Hague on the basis of the 1948 Genocide Convention, request an Emergency Hearing by the Court, and obtain an Order by the Court against Israel to cease and desist from committing all acts of genocide against the Palestinians.

“Israel is not engaging in legitimate self defense under the UN Charter as it and the U.S. government continuously claim. It is a belligerent occupier under the Fourth Geneva Convention and other relevant legal statutes which Israel falsely claims don’t apply to it.

“The U.S. government would seek to squash any Order by the ICJ [also called the World Court] at the Security Council. This will require use of the General Assembly’s Uniting for Peace Resolution of 1950 in order to have the World Court Order turned over to the United Nations General Assembly for enforcement against Israel. The UN General Assembly could also admit Palestine as a full-fledged U.N. Member State.” See Boyle’s lecture on this: “Stopping Zionist Genocide Against The Palestinians.”

See pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post quoting Boyle in the course of his representation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993.

The late Michael Ratner, who was president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, also embraced involking the Genocide Convention regarding Palestine, see his piece: “UN’s Investigation of Israel Should Go Beyond War Crimes to Genocide” during Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza. Also see video of his commentary.

Ratner stated: “I’m a lawyer. I’ve looked at genocide. Genocide has two elements. One element is the mental element, the intent to destroy the whole or in part a national or ethnic or racial or religious group. Palestinians are clearly a national and ethnic group. And you don’t need to kill them all. You just need to have the mental intent to kill part of them. For example, it would be enough to have the mental intent to kill the leadership of the Palestinians or to kill people in one region. No doubt about that.”