77 Groups Worldwide Back Genocide Lawsuit against Biden in U.S. Court

ANGLO AMERICA, 29 Jan 2024

Prem Thakker | The Intercept - TRANSCEND Media Service

President Joe Biden holds a Cabinet meeting joined by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, at the White House on 2 Oct 2023 in Washington, D.C.  Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Biden administration is due in federal court later this month, while Israel faces charges of genocide at The Hague this week.

10 Jan 2024Dozens of legal and civil society organizations from around the world have thrown their weight behind a U.S. lawsuit accusing President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for failing to “prevent an unfolding genocide” in Gaza.

In late December, 77 groups — representing tens of thousands of lawyers, civil society leaders, and activists from six continents — filed an amicus briefOpens in a new tab in a lawsuit that Palestinian human rights organizations, residents of Gaza, and U.S. citizens with family members impacted by Israel’s ongoing assault brought against the Biden administration.

In the amicus brief, which is an avenue for groups not directly involved in a lawsuit to give the court information to consider in its ruling, the organizations argue that the plaintiffs establish that a genocide, or serious risk of genocide, of Palestinians in Gaza is occurring. They also argue that the U.S. is violating its duties under international law to prevent and not be complicit in genocide, and that those U.S. failures contribute to the erosion of “long and widely-held norms of international law,” including the Genocide Convention and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, both established in 1948 in the wake of World War II.

The lawsuit is headed for a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California later this month. Meanwhile, in an 84-page complaintOpens in a new tab brought by South Africa, Israel faces charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice at The Hague. The court will begin to hear arguments in that case on Thursday and could issue provisional measures. That could include directing Israel to suspend its military operations in Gaza, stop any procedures that are forcibly displacing or starving Palestinians in Gaza, or preserve evidence related to the allegations.

The lawyers overseeing the U.S. lawsuit believe that the decisions rendered by the ICJ could indirectly impact their case as well.

“While the District Court is obviously not bound by the ICJ, it will have to, and the government will have to, contend with the fact that the highest authority, the world court, has issued an order in which it has found that the case of genocide — there’s a plausible case,” said Astha Sharma Pokharel, staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, an organization representing the plaintiffs against the U.S. “It will have implications for the United States around both its failure to prevent this genocide and for its complicity.”

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