March 30, 2024

In Substack

In a recent debate moderated by Lex Fridman, a nullity seated beside Professor Benny Morris expounded on the nuances of the Genocide Convention: “I think it’s called dolus specialis, it’s the most important part of genocide, which is proving it is a highly special intent to commit genocide.” This writer innocuously and uncontroversially interjected: “That’s mens rea.” Which was to say that the crux of the Genocide Convention is proving intent or mens rea (from the Latin for “guilty mind”) to commit genocide. Thus commenced a saga that has by now polluted cyberspace. Like a baby that won’t let go of its rattle, the misbegotten intruder obstinately purports, and his weird cult mindlessly repeats after him, that reference to mens rea instead of dolus specialis reveals complete ignorance of the Genocide Convention. It happens that yesterday the International Court of Justice issued a new statement pertaining to South Africa’s application charging Israel with genocide. The Israeli judge on the Court, former president of the Israeli Supreme Court Aharon Barak, dissented from the majority opinion. Among other things, Barak had this to say: “The Court’s lack of reasoning is concerning with regard to the issue of INTENT. South Africa made no reference to INTENT in its request for the modification of provisional measures, although IT IS THE KEY REQUIREMENT IN CASES OF GENOCIDE.” (my emphases) In other words, proving “intent” (mens rea) is the crux of the Genocide Convention. It would appear that Barak too is ignorant of international law. Darn, if only we had taken a crash course at Wiki