Russia-Ukraine: Two years of war
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Pro-Palestinian protesters pose for a photo in front of the International Court of Justice.

REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

Rorschach ruling from ICJ on Gaza genocide charges

The International Court of Justice on Friday gave its preliminary opinion on the South African case which alleges Israel is carrying out a genocide in Gaza. As you might expect, everyone sees in it what they wish.

The raw facts: The court found that Israel’s actions in Gaza are at least “plausibly genocidal” which means the case can continue until a verdict is reached. That could take years and will require a higher standard of proof than the current ruling.

In the meantime, the court stopped short of calling for a ceasefire, which South Africa had sought. Instead, the court ordered Israel to observe several provisional measures to prevent genocidal acts, increase humanitarian aid, and preserve evidence for the ongoing investigation.

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Women from the city of Al-Junina (West Darfur) cry after receiving the news about the death of their relatives as they waited for them in Chad, Nov. 7, 2023.

REUTERS/El Tayeb Siddig

Sudan genocide feared after massacre at refugee camp

Sudan’s ongoing civil war may once again be spiraling into genocide. Late last week, the UN Refugee Agency condemned the mass killing of at least 800 people within 72 hours by the Arab paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and its allies in the Ardamata refugee camp in West Darfur. This weekend, the EU's chief diplomat Josep Borrell cited witness reports that over 1,000 members of the Black African Masalit population had been killed, noting that the international community “cannot turn a blind eye on what is happening in Darfur and allow another genocide to happen in this region."

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Print photocopies of Benjamin Ferencz, while he served as a prosecutor during the Nuremberg trials, on a table at his home in Delray Beach, Florida on June 1, 2022.

USA Today Network via Reuters Connect

Nuremberg now: the legacy of Ben Ferencz

At 27 years old, with no trial experience to speak of, Ben Ferencz entered the courtroom at Nuremberg in November of 1945. He was tasked with holding to account a regime that had slaughtered millions and tried to annihilate his own people. Acting as chief prosecutor, Ferencz secured convictions against 22 Nazis.

Ferencz, the last-surviving prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals, passed away last week at the age of 103. As a child, he and his family fled anti-semitism in Romania. After finishing law school at Harvard, he joined the US army, taking part in the Normandy landings and the Battle of the Bulge. He was then assigned to General Patton’s HQ as part of a special unit investigating Nazi atrocities, interviewing survivors and witnessing first-hand the horrors of the concentration camps. That experience would shape the rest of his life. He would remain a warrior, not on the battlefield but in the public arena as a professor of international law and tireless campaigner for justice for the victims of genocide.

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Is Putin's war in Ukraine genocide?

Is Putin's war in Ukraine genocide?

Over the weekend, as Ukrainian forces retook the Kyiv region and Russian troops began retreating to (and expanding fighting in) eastern and southern Ukraine, gruesome images emerged of dead civilians littering the streets of Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv.

According to Ukrainian officials and independent reports, the victims included not just fighting-age men, but countless women, children, and elderly people. Hundreds had been allegedly beaten, raped, tortured, and tied up by Russian soldiers before being executed and left to rot on the street, buried in mass graves, or burned. Others were shot in the back and killed while riding their bikes and carrying groceries, for no apparent military reason.

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Revisiting Holodomor, the controversial 1932-33 Soviet genocide against Ukrainians

Revisiting Holodomor, the controversial 1932-33 Soviet genocide against Ukrainians

This November marked the 88th commemoration of the 1932-33 Ukrainian Holodomor, the famine caused by Joseph Stalin’s forced collectivization of agriculture that killed more than 3 million Ukrainians out of between 6 and 11 million total victims across the Soviet Union.

The narrative around the Holodomor has been the subject of controversy for decades. While today historians largely agree that the famine was the result of Soviet policy (rather than a tragic natural disaster) and that ethnic Ukrainians were disproportionately affected by it (they were 30-50% of the victims but only 21% of the Soviet population), this wasn’t always the case.

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