Former supreme court judges say UK arming Israel breaches international law

Former supreme court judges say UK arming Israel breaches international law

The Guardian reports:

A fourth former supreme court justice has put his name to a letter warning Rishi Sunak that the UK is breaching international law by continuing to arm Israel, as the number of legal experts signing the letter rose to more than 750.

Lord Carnwath joins Lady Hale, who was president of the UK’s highest court, and lords Sumption and Wilson, in urging ministers to act to prevent the “plausible risk” of genocide in Gaza.

Another new signatory is Lord Brennan KC, the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on legal and constitutional affairs, who is the second former chair of the bar of England and Wales to add his name to the letter.

The 17-page letter and legal opinion, also signed by four former court of appeal judges, more than 70 KCs, more than 100 partners and directors of law firms, and dozens of law professors, has added to already mounting pressure on the government to suspend arms sales in the wake of the Israeli airstrike that killed seven international aid workers, three of them British, on Monday.

Citing both the international court of justice’s conclusion that a plausible risk of genocide exists in Gaza, and the UK’s obligations under the 1948 genocide convention, the letter states that halting weapons sales is a “‘means likely to deter’ and/or ‘a measure to prevent’ genocide”.

It also calls for the government to work towards a permanent ceasefire, impose sanctions against those inciting genocide against Palestinians, restore funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa. [Continue reading…]

The Guardian reports:

Britain’s ongoing arms sales to Israel have provoked bitter infighting within the Conservative party, as Rishi Sunak came under mounting pressure to halt weapons exports in light of the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Amid continued international anger after an Israeli drone strike killed seven aid workers in Gaza, Nicholas Soames, the veteran Tory peer, said the UK should send a message about Israel’s actions – the latest in a series of Conservative figures to call for an end to UK arms sales.

As Downing Street and David Cameron, the foreign secretary, remained largely silent, a furious row broke out over Israel’s actions, with the former minister Alan Duncan lambasting what he called pro-Israel “extremists” within the Tories, prompting the party to investigate his comments.

Keir Starmer also faces pressure to back an end to arms sales after Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, and Margaret Beckett, the Labour MP who was foreign secretary under Tory Blair, called on the government to consider immediate action.

Soames, a former minister who spent 36 years in the Commons before being made a peer, said that in the wake of the deaths of seven aid workers for World Central Kitchen, among them three Britons, the UK needed to stop providing Israel with arms. [Continue reading…]

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