A group of Israeli diplomats plans to turn to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague and demand that it launch legal proceedings against Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for conspiring to commit crimes against humanity.
Following the scathing remarks made by Ahmadinejad in the past few months against Israel's right to exist and his Holocaust denial, while the Iranians are exerting increasing efforts to obtain nuclear weapons, Israeli diplomats decided to form a group aimed at looking into the possibility of launching a legal procedure.
On Sunday, the group members announced that a legal examination of the issue, in which international legal experts took part, ended with the conclusion that the Iranian president could be sued. The legal file against Ahmadinejad is almost ready for submission.
Among the forum members are former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and France Dr. Meir Rosen, former Foreign Ministry Director-General Eytan Bentsur, and former Minister Dan Naveh. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), headed by former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold, is providing the forum with logistic assistance in preparing the lawsuit.
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
was accepted by the UN General Assembly on December 1948, as the international community's response to the revelations on the Holocaust. The forum's document quotes a speech by Ahmadinejad from October 28, 2005, in which he called to "wipe Israel off the map."
In an interview to the al-Alam Iranian television network during the Islamic Convention in Saudi Arabia, Ahmadinejad declared that Israel's existence was "the main obstacle faced by the Islamic nation." Recently, in April 2006, the Iranian president defined Israel as "a rotten and dried-up tree which will be destroyed by one storm."
'Direct and public incitement to commit genocide'
The Convention on genocide defined genocide as acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. The acts for which countries can be punished as part of the Convention include physical genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, as well as a "direct and public incitement to commit genocide."
Rosen and Gold write in their document that "Ahmadinejad's remarks constitute without a doubt a 'direct and public incitement' to commit genocide. The Iranian regime supports terror organizations, such as the Islamic Jihad, which continuously carries out murderous terror attacks against innocent Israeli citizens. However, the gravity of Ahmadinejad's remarks is particularly outstanding in light of Iran's attempts to develop mass destruction weapons."
The document also stated that "the State of Israel must act against Iran through clause 9 of the Convention. According to this clause, disagreements between states that signed the Convention regarding its implementation must be solved by turning to the International Court of Justice in The Hague."
Both Israel and Iran signed and approved the discussed treaty in the 1950's.
At this stage, the forum is formulating the last wordings of the petition to the ICJ, while continuing to collect evidence, most of it from the media. The forum plans to take additional steps against Ahmadinejad in other European countries with legislation against Holocaust denial.