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NZ put ‘on notice’ of ‘plausible’ genocide by Israel after international court ruling

A new open letter penned by 30 New Zealand lawyers and scholars observes that New Zealand is “on notice” of plausibly genocidal acts being perpetrated by Israel in Gaza – and that the Government must do more to prevent genocide.

The letter points out that after last month’s International Court of Justice ruling, finding that Israel’s actions in Gaza amount to a plausible case of genocide, New Zealand must do more to avoid being complicit in genocide.

The actions listed in the letter to achieve this include New Zealand halting any exports of arms or arms components to Israel, suspending defence industry partnerships with Israel, and resuming any funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

“The Government needs to shift course more sharply after the International Court of Justice ruling or risk finding itself vulnerable to a charge of complicity in genocide,” says Dylan Asafo, legal academic and signatory to the letter.

The letter cites an earlier decision of the International Court of Justice saying that the obligation to prevent genocide as soon as a state learns of a serious risk that a genocide is committed. The letter suggests the ICJ decision has highlighted that serious risk.

“The Government must call for an immediate permanent ceasefire, and ensure it is providing no arms or material support to Israel,” adds Asafo.

The letter comes on the back of a letter signed by 76 members of the NZ legal community calling for a ceasefire in December, and a further letter by 10 legal experts in January calling for the Government to support South Africa’s ICJ case.

This letter is signed by two King’s Counsel (KCs), several emeritus (distinguished) professors of law, and a number of practising barristers and lawyers.

 

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