A civil liberties group in New York, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), has filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden, alleging that he has failed in his duty under both international and US laws to prevent Israel from committing genocide in Gaza.
The complaint, on behalf of several Palestinian groups and individuals, alleges that Israel’s actions, including “mass killings,” targeting civilian infrastructure, and forced expulsions, amount to genocide as defined by the 1948 international convention against genocide.
The CCR argues that the United States, as Israel’s closest ally and largest provider of military assistance, has the means to deter Israeli officials from pursuing genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, seeks to bar the US from providing weapons, money, and diplomatic support to Israel. Additionally, it calls for a declaration that President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are required to take measures to prevent Israel’s commission of genocidal acts in Gaza.
The CCR highlights that the Hamas cross-border attack on October 7, which resulted in casualties and abductions, does not justify the scale of Israel’s assault on Gaza, leading to over 11,000 Palestinian deaths, including 4,600 children, and displacing 1.5 million people.
CCR Sues Biden Over Gaza Genocide Amid ICC Probe
The lawsuit is a significant legal move as it comes amid the International Criminal Court’s investigation into Israel and Hamas for alleged war crimes. However, legal scholars question the feasibility of proving genocide and forcing the president to intervene.
The CCR’s complaint lists various actions by Israel that it claims amount to genocide, including civilian deaths, systemic collective punishment, and deprivation of basic necessities. It argues that Israel’s order for over 1 million Palestinians to leave their homes, coupled with the language used by Israeli leaders, constitutes a call to commit genocide.
The lawsuit refers to an international court of justice ruling, stating that states have an obligation to prevent genocide using all reasonably available means. It asserts that the US, under international law, has a duty to take measures to prevent genocide and criticizes the Biden administration for not using its leverage to limit Israel’s actions in Gaza.
As the legal battle unfolds, the international community continues to watch the situation closely, balancing the complexities of geopolitics and human rights concerns in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.