Amnesty International Israel comments on the initiation of discussions in the ICJ regarding accusations of genocide against Israel

This procedure is necessary, but it’s important to avoid premature conclusions or implications thereof. Decisions must be grounded in facts, and the work of international bodies needs to cover harm inflicted on civilians on both sides of the border. This approach must aim to safeguard the right to life and security of all the region’s inhabitants, both Israelis and Palestinians.

Ahead of the hearings set to commence tomorrow, Amnesty International Israel urges against making premature statements ahead of the International Court of Justice’s decision on allegations that Israel has violated the Genocide Convention. Any statement on this matter should be founded on a comprehensive evaluation of the facts and should serve the goal of  promoting human rights for all

Ahead of the International Court of Justice proceedings in The Hague against Israel, set to open tomorrow, Amnesty International Israel emphasizes that allegations of genocide, being the gravest allegations under international law, demand utmost caution and must not be made lightly. As an accountable organization that is committed to human rights for all, we welcome the International Court of Justice’s decision to investigate this matter. However, we must await their judgment and review the decision protocol before responding. Given the severity of the accusation, we intend to scrutinize any ruling that indicates a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

It is undeniable that the Israeli military operation in Gaza has caused immense devastation, loss of life, and suffering for civilians, including hunger and disease. These actions may amount to crimes against humanity. However, we are concerned that prematurely labeling these actions as “genocide” – without formal validation – might shift focus from the atrocities themselves to debates over legal terminology.

Moreover, the involvement of the international community and its institutions, including the International Court of Justice in The Hague, in this grievous conflict is not only positive and welcome, but also necessary. Yet, this involvement should effectively address human rights violations committed by all parties in the conflict. This includes investigating the actions of Hamas under suspicion of crimes against humanity and possibly even attempts at genocide against Israelis. Acknowledging the obligation to protect civilians and inhabitants in the region is a fundamental matter and a goal that the international human rights community must pursue in its vision.

The right to life and security of all groups and peoples living in the region is paramount. Holding to account those responsible for the war and the killing of innocents is essential. This necessitates criticism of both the Israeli government and the attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas and other armed groups. Demands for accountability must be based on solid evidence and aim to protect the rights of everyone living in the region.