The Criminalization of International Justice, Putting an End to the Genocide against the People of Palestine. Nuremberg Principle IV

Disobey Unlawful Orders, Abandon the Battlefield under Principle IV of the Nuremberg Charter

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky


This article examines the criminalization of International Justice as well as the stranglehold exerted by Washington over both the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  

While we firmly support and endorse the Republic of South Africa’s carefully formulated Legal Procedure against the State of Israel in relation to the Genocide Convention (Click Here to access 84 page Submission, Excerpts Below), the fundamental question is whether it will contribute to repealing the ongoing genocide and saving the lives of tens of thousands of civilians.

Will the Vote by the World Court’s 15 Judges be based on “politics” or on an independent and “honest” legal analysis and documentation of the overwhelming evidence –presented by South Africa’s Legal Team– pertaining to “alleged” acts of genocide by Israel? 

We must recognize that there is “A Sense of Urgency”: 

The latter part of this article focusses on Principle IV of the Nuremberg Charter. 

It is a proposal which has not been the object of media coverage and/or debate by anti-war activists. While it is predicated on international law, its conduct  does not require the political rubber stamp of either the ICC or the ICJ. 

Based on the Nuremberg Charter, what is required is a grass-roots campaign encouraging: Israeli, American and NATO Combatants to “Disobey Unlawful Orders” and “Abandon the Battlefield”. 

It is based on Principle IV of the Nuremberg Charter  which defines the responsibility of combatants “to refuse the orders of Government or a superior … “provided a moral choice [is] possible“. It can be conducted without delay in the form of a Worldwide grass-roots campaign, concurrently and in solidarity with South Africa’s Procedure at the ICJ. 

In hours before the ICJ Hearings in The Hague, January 11, 2024,  Brazil, Colombia, and Nicaragua, Malaysia, Turkey, Brazil, The Maldives, Namibia, Jordan, Iran, Bangladesh, Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen signed on. 

VIDEO. ICJ Hearings in The Hague

Click Screen to View the ICJ Hearings, January 11, 2024

South Africa’s “Provisional Measures” 

“Pursuant to Article 41 of the Statute, [South Africa] has  included a request that the Court indicate provisional measures to protect the rights invoked herein from imminent and irreparable loss”.

South Africa has demanded that the ICJ  “issue an interim order for Israel to immediately suspend its military operations in Gaza.”

The Israeli government rejected “with disgust” the genocide accusations, calling it a “blood libel.” A Foreign Ministry statement said South Africa’s case lacks a legal foundation and constitutes a “despicable and contemptuous exploitation” of the court.

Israel also accused South Africa of cooperating with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group behind the deadly Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that triggered the ongoing war.

The statement also said Israel operates according to international law and focuses its military actions solely against Hamas, adding that the residents of Gaza are not an enemy. It asserted that it takes steps to minimize harm to civilians and to allow humanitarian aid to enter the territory.

While the court’s orders are legally binding, they are not always followed.” (Africa News, emphasis added)

The issue of provisional measures under Article 41 is crucial. It is unlikely that meaningful provisional measures including the immediate suspension of Israeli military operations will be granted. And if it is granted by the ICJ, Israel will refuse to implement it.

What this suggests is that resulting from possible “pressures” (including bribes) on the 15 Judges of the ICJ, Israel (with the support of the US) will one able reach its goal of “Wiping Gaza off the Map” and excluding Palestinians from their homeland. 

The ICJ is under Washington’s Spotlight

South Africa’s initiative —which has a direct bearing on the planning of US-NATO military operations in the Middle East– will no doubt be the object of carefully designed (behind the scenes) acts of sabotage.

Let us be under no illusions, the U.S has firmly endorsed Israel’s criminal undertaking. It is a Israeli-US operation. 

The President of the World Court Was First Nominated by Hillary Clinton 

The President of the ICJ Joan E. Donoghue (who is currently chairing the Hearings) was a legal advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton under the Obama administration. 

She is a U.S. appointee. Hillary was involved in the nomination of Joan E. Donohue to the World Court in 2010.  

Joan Donoghue takes her instructions from Washington. The conduct of the genocide is a joint Israel-US endeavour. Nobody in the media has underscored the fact that the President of the ICJ is de facto  in “conflict of interest”: 

In the word of Hillary Clinton: 

“I congratulate Joan E. Donoghue, the State Department’s Principal Deputy Legal Adviser, on her nomination by the U.S. National Group to serve as a Judge on the International Court of Justice. She is judicious, fair, an extraordinary international legal counsel, and an excellent choice for the Court. 


The ICJ plays a vital role in the development of international law and dispute resolution, and Joan has long experience in both areas. She has won the confidence of senior officials in both Democratic and Republican Administrations. And as the State Department’s Acting Legal Adviser in 2009 and now as the Principal Deputy Legal Adviser, Joan has provided me [Hillary] with the very best legal advice on the complex and challenging issues we confront on a daily basis. She sees the hardest issues, and asks the toughest questions. Joan will be sorely missed, but our country and our world would be well served with her advancing the causes of international law and justice at the ICJ. (Hillary Rodham Clinton, June 18, 2020, emphasis added)


The Republic of South Africa’s Legal procedure against the State of Israel.

Below is the introductory section of South Africa’s submission to the International Court of Justice


To the Registrar of the International Court of Justice, the undersigned, being duly authorised by the Government of the Republic of South Africa, state as follows:

In accordance with Articles 36 (1) and 40 of the Statute of the Court and Article 38 of the Rules of Court, I have the honour to submit this Application instituting proceedings in the name of the Republic of South Africa (“South Africa”) against the State of Israel (“Israel”). Pursuant to Article 41 of the Statute, the Application includes a request that the Court indicate provisional measures to protect the rights invoked herein from imminent and irreparable loss.

I. Introduction

1. This Application concerns acts threatened, adopted, condoned, taken and being taken by the Government and military of the State of Israel against the Palestinian people, a distinct national, racial and ethnical group, in the wake of the attacks in Israel on 7 October 2023. South Africa unequivocally condemns all violations of international law by all parties, including the direct targeting of Israeli civilians and other nationals and hostage-taking by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups. No armed attack on a State’s territory no matter how serious — even an attack involving atrocity crimes — can, however, provide any possible justification for, or defence to, breaches of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (‘Genocide Convention’ or ‘Convention’),

Read complete document (84 Pages Here)

Video: Middle East War Genocide in Palestine
Rumble Version of Video 


Important Questions: Enforcement and Compliance

A lengthy legal procedure is envisaged. Moreover, there is the issue of “Enforcement” and “Compliance”. Paul Larudee in an incisive article begs the Question:

“If the International Court of Justice rules that Israel has committed and is committing genocide, will it save Gaza?” 

The Answer is NO:

A lot of hope is being placed in the ruling of the ICJ. But even if the decision is, as expected, a powerful one, the only enforcement mechanism is the agreement of the parties to the convention that they will take all necessary actions to end the culpable actions and prosecute the perpetrators.

Will Israel comply with the court’s decision? Will the US? Neither nation has much respect for international law, so we may assume that neither country will do anything but denounce the ICJ and South Africa as antisemitic and offer angry excuses as for refusing to comply to the convention to which they both agreed.” (Paul Larudee)

While diplomacy and South Africa’s legal procedures at the ICJ should continue, the history of the World Court suggests that these proceedings against Israel cannot be relied upon to put a rapid end to the genocide

Failure of Diplomacy and Judicial Procedures. The Criminalization of the ICC

It is not through “negotiations” with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Biden, both of whom are responsible for “crimes punishable under International Law” that we will be able to put an end to the genocidal attack against the People of Palestine.

Put an End to the Genocide is ultimately is our objective, in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Prior to South Africa’s ICJ December 2023 initiative, a procedure under the auspices of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was contemplated, with the support of NGOs and civil society organizations.

I should mention that while the president and prosecutor of the ICC are corrupt, the President of the World Court (as outlined above) is de facto a U.S. appointee. 

South Africa, along with like-minded States, submits joint referral of the situation in Palestine to the ICC” 

On 17 November 2023, South Africa referred the situation in the State of Palestine to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC), pursuant to Article 14 of the Rome Statute. The referral was delivered in person by South Africa’s ambassador in the Hague, His Excellency Mr Vusi Madonsela. 

South Africa’s attempted legal action under the auspices of the International Criminal Court (ICC) immediately led into “a cul de sac”, namely an impasse. 

WHY. Because the ICC is a criminal entity, which is fully aligned with Israel, supportive of Netanyahu’s genocidal attack against Gaza. 

ICC Prosecutor, Karim A. A. Khan K.C. was in Israel in early December 2023.  He was in Tel Aviv and Ramallah, but he did not go to Gaza to see with own eyes what was happening. Amply documented, he is a puppet and a de facto mouthpiece for the Netanyahu regime. (Read his complete statement

We should call for his immediate resignation.


The ICC President Piotr Hofmański is also a proxy. On December 7, 2023, three weeks after South Africa’s submission to the ICC (see above) he met U.N. Secretary-General  Guterres 

ICC President Piotr Hofmański and Secretary-General António Guterres meet at UN Headquarters © UN Photo/Evan Schneider

ICC President Piotr Hofmański and Secretary-General António Guterres meet at UN Headquarters © UN Photo/Evan Schneider


“During the meeting, President Hofmański “conveyed to the Secretary-General his deep sense of gratitude … which is particularly important as the Court is facing pressures and attacks on account of its independent work in addressing the most serious crimes under international law“, (See his complete statement)

“Pressures and attacks”, WHY?  No concern by the ICC regarding the People of Palestine, namely ICC President Hofmanski’s unbending support of Netanyahu.

Principle IV of the Nuremberg Charter

In view of the failures of The Hague based Judicial Procedures, specifically the ICC, this section presents a possible solution to put an end to the ongoing genocide. It is a proposal which has not been the object of debate by anti-war activists in solidarity with Palestine.  

It is based on Principle IV of the Nuremberg Charter  which defines the responsibility of combatants “to refuse the orders of Government or a superior … “provided a moral choice [is] possible“. 

Based on Nuremberg, what is required is a campaign encouraging:

Israeli, American and NATO Combatants to “Disobey Unlawful Orders” and “Abandon the Battlefield”. 

The Campaign would focus on making that “moral choice” possible, namely to enable enlisted Israeli, American, and NATO service men and women to “Abandon the Battlefield”.

The Abandon the Battlefield campaign will in large part be waged in Israel. Already there are unfolding divisions in the IDF command structures, political divisions, coupled with a protest movement against Netanyahu.

IDF soldiers must be informed and briefed on the significance of Nuremberg Principle IV. 

Click  title page to access full document (pdf)

Now let me turn my attention to Nuremberg Principle VI, which defines the crimes punishable under international law, which are casually dismissed both by the President and Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Nuremberg Charter. Principle VI 

Both Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu as well as President Joe Biden are responsible for “war crimes”, “crimes against peace” and “crimes against humanity” as defined under Principle VI of the Nuremberg Charter:

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

(b)  War crimes:

Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill- treatment or deportation to slave-labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

(c)  Crimes against humanity:

Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are

Disobey Unlawful Orders, Abandon the Battlefield 

According to Principle IV of the Nuremberg Charter:

“The fact that a person [e.g. Israeli, U.S.soldiers, pilots]  acted pursuant to order of his [her] Government or of a superior does not relieve him [her] from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him [her].”

Let us make that  “moral choice” possible, to enlisted Israeli, American, and NATO service men and women.

Let us call upon Israeli and American soldiers and pilots “to abandon the battlefield”, as an act of refusal to participate in a criminal undertaking against the People of Gaza.  

South Africa’s legal procedure at the ICJ should be endorsed Worldwide. While it cannot be relied upon to put a rapid end to the genocide, it provides support and legitimacy to the “Disobey Unlawful Orders, Abandon the Battlefield”  campaign under Nuremberg Charter Principle IV.

As we recall: Pursuant to Article 41 of the Statute, The Republic of South Africa had requested “provisional measures to protect the rights invoked herein from imminent and irreparable loss”. 

These provisional measures envisaged under South Africa’s ICJ Legal Procedure should also include reference to  Nuremberg Principle IV, namely the legitimacy to “Disobey Unlawful Orders” 

For further details related article Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, December 2023

The original source of this article is Global Research

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