Inciting Genocide Is a Crime

(Wall Street Journal) Robert Bernstein, Irwin Cotler and Stuart Robinowitz - Iran's genocidal anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric constitutes one of the most serious crimes under international law. The UN's Genocide Convention outlaws not only acts of genocide but "incitement" to genocide, an offense whether or not genocide has yet occurred. The convention's goal is to prevent genocide before it takes place. Tragically, warnings of impending atrocities in Rwanda were ignored by the international community. As a result, 800,000 innocent civilians were slaughtered in a genocide that could have been prevented. Iran has given the world ample warning. A website affiliated with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared in February that Iran would be justified in killing all Israeli Jews - which Tehran's long-range missiles could accomplish in nine minutes, boasted the site. Khamenei has called Israel a "cancerous tumor that must be removed" and declared that there is "justification to kill all the Jews and annihilate Israel, and Iran must take the helm." Also in February, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hosted Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Tehran, as billboards in the city declared that it is every Muslim's duty to "wipe out" Israel. "If all the Jews gathered in Israel, it would save us the trouble of going after them world-wide," Nasrallah has said. "It is an open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of the last Jew on the earth." No free-speech law condones threats of mass murder. The Nuremberg tribunal convicted and executed Nazi newspaper publisher Julius Streicher for inciting the murder of Europe's Jews, even though he hadn't committed murders directly. The threat of criminal prosecution before the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court should be added to existing diplomatic and economic pressures meant to deter terrorism and nuclear-weapons development by Tehran. Mr. Bernstein was founder and chair of Human Rights Watch from 1978-98. He is now the chair of Advancing Human Rights (AHR). Mr. Cotler, emeritus professor of law at McGill University, is a former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada. Mr. Robinowitz, a former adjunct faculty member at Yale Law School, is a board member of AHR.

2012-05-02 00:00:00

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