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Noura Erakat: War on Gaza in the Age of Human Rights

In July and August, hostilities in the Gaza Strip left 2,131 Palestinians and 71 Israelis dead, including 501 Palestinian children and one Israeli child. Of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents, 475,000 are living in temporary shelters or with other families because their homes have been severely damaged. The extent of destruction has raised questions around culpability for war crimes on all sides of the conflict. International organizations including the United Nations Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for independent investigation. At the end of 2014, Palestine deposited a 12(3) application to the ICC for ad-hoc jurisdiction as well as acceded to the Rome Statute, thus granting the International Criminal Court the authority to investigate war crimes conducted in Palestinian territory. Such an investigation would bring both Israel and Palestine under scrutiny for events from this summer and as far back as 2012, and possibly to 2002 when the ICC was first formed to investigate war crimes. This is the third large scale military offensive against the besieged coastal enclave since Israel’s unilateral disengagement in 2005. Given the shortcomings of the ceasefire on August 26, 2014, another attack is seemingly inevitable. How is such civilian carnage possible notwithstanding the humanitarian and human rights legal regimes established to reduce civilian suffering? And what are the prospects for accountability under international criminal law and beyond? This lecture will explore these questions and specifically the prospects for accountability at the ICC.



Monday, May 4, 2015. 03:30 PM


Encina Hall East, Okimoto Conference Room, 3rd Floor


Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies