Urge Governments to Invoke the Genocide Convention

Urge Governments to Invoke the Genocide Convention
Members of the South African Delegation at the ICJ, January 2024. Photo credit: ICJ

As the atrocities in Gaza continue, the Republic of Ireland announced on 28 March 2024 that it will intervene in the genocide case against Israel.

In December 2023, the Republic of South Africa showed admirable leadership in filing an 84-page request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), asking that the court order Israel to cease all possible genocide-related actions. They won this request, and on 26 January 2024 the ICJ ordered Israel to refrain from acts that plausibly violate the Genocide Convention.

Israel has since flouted this order, continuing to slaughter Palestinians. So South Africa returned to the ICJ to request further provisional measures, which were ordered on 28 March 2024.

While the evidentiary case against Israel is extremely strong, there is a political element to this decision. More countries intervening on the side of South Africa builds geopolitical momentum. We are asking you to contact ambassadors and urge them to do the right thing by joining South Africa and Ireland in their case against Israel's genocide.

We are asking fellow scientists to please do the following ~7 min task:

  1. Go to the Gaza Genocide letter campaign page (from the group World Beyond War). Enter your name and address and click [START WRITING].
  2. The letter will be emailed to the UN ambassadors of the ten sympathetic countries listed. There is a default email text that you can edit. Once you are happy with your letter (email), press [SEND LETTER].

If you have a bit more time, you can also email your own ambassadors using this ~8 min method:

  1. To email an ambassador, go to this spreadsheet, and search for the relevant country. Copy-paste the ambassador’s email address into your email client, fill the body with your letter (see example below), and send.
  2. Forward this guide to your friends.

Thank you for helping in this effort to promote justice for Palestine.

Note: You can also email a judge on the court. Nations with ICJ judges include India, China, Russia, and Jamaica. The spreadsheet has a tab with the judges’ emails through which they can be urged to rule in favor of a genocide finding.

Example letter to UN ambassador

(Composed by Sam Husseini.)

[Subject:] ICJ Declaration of Intervention

Your Excellency [Ambassador’s Name],

I urge your country, as party to the Genocide Convention, to immediately file a Declaration of Intervention with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in support of the South African case against Israel for the crime of genocide.

Your United Nations mission, government leaders, and populace have rightfully expressed outrage at Israel’s bombing of hospitals, clinics, apartments, UN refugee centers, and escape routes, killing civilians, many of them children, in Gaza’s densely packed coastal strip.

I ask your country to take the next step, to file a Declaration of Intervention with the ICJ in support of the South African case against Israel on the crime of genocide.

Under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the crime of genocide is defined as acts perpetrated to bring about the destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such.

Israel’s killing, injuring, traumatizing, and making homeless large number of Palestinians and denying an imprisoned population water, food, medicine, and fuel meets the criteria for the crime of genocide.

If a majority of the world’s nations call for a ceasefire, yet fail to press for prosecution of Israel – what is to stop Israel from ethnically cleansing all Palestinians? For that matter, what is to stop other nations from repeating a horror of this magnitude?

I urge you to immediately file a Declaration of Intervention in support of the South African case against Israel at the International Court of Justice to stop the killing in Palestine.


[Your Name]