When the International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced that it found it “plausible” that Israel is violating the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, many immediately drew parallels to the Holocaust, suggesting that Israel’s actions were akin to the treatment of Jews under Nazi Germany.
However, this interpretation is not accurate. The common understanding of “genocide” as the “systematic extermination” of a group of people does not align with the definition in the UN’s Convention, nor is it the definition under scrutiny by the ICJ.
In UN law, “genocide” encompasses a broad range of actions, including killing any number of people in a defined group, even a single person, or causing serious mental harm to a member of the group. This expansive definition implies that nations involved in any conflict, anywhere, at any time could potentially face allegations of “genocide.”
Professor Salim Mansur from Western University joins us to explore the implications of the ICJ’s provisional decision and its potential impact on the very existence of the state of Israel.
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