A civil liberties organisation in New York is suing US President Joe Biden for allegedly failing in his duties under international and US law to prevent Israel from committing genocide in Gaza.
The case filed by the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of multiple Palestinian groups and individuals said that Israel's acts, including "mass killings," targeting of civilian infrastructure, and forced expulsions, amount to genocide, reports The Guardian.
According to the CCR, the 1948 international treaty against genocide demands the United States and other countries to utilise their strength and influence to put an end to the killings, it said.
“As Israel’s closest ally and strongest supporter, being its biggest provider of military assistance by a large margin and with Israel being the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II, the United States has the means available to have a deterrent effect on Israeli officials now pursuing genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza,” mentioned the complaint.
The complaint, filed in federal court in California, seeks the court to prevent the United States from providing Israel with weapons, money, and diplomatic support. It also demands the president, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin “to take all measures within their power to prevent Israel’s commission of genocidal acts against the Palestinian people of Gaza.” These include putting pressure on Israel to stop bombing Gaza, ease its siege, and prevent the forceful deportation of Palestinians, the report said.
The CCR, which won a landmark case in the US Supreme Court in 2004 establishing the rights of prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay, stated that the Hamas cross-border attack on October 7, in which approximately 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 were abducted, does not provide legal justification for the scale of Israel's assault on Gaza, which has killed over 11,000 Palestinians, including 4,600 children, and displaced 1.5 million people, it added.
The case is being filed at the same time that the International Criminal Court is investigating Israel and Hamas for suspected war crimes. However, legal academics argue that genocide is a more difficult crime to establish and question whether the US president can be forced to conclude that Israel is committing genocide and so must intervene.