Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) has proposed a resolution calling for the arrest and prosecution of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, The Hill reported.
“President Ahmadinejad isn’t merely a pundit whose words can be dismissed: he is the leader of a country developing nuclear arms. He has called for the destruction of Israel and its people, and he has denied that the Holocaust took place. Incitement to Genocide is a punishable act and instead of giving him another platform at the UN, he should be tried,” Israel had said in September.
The two-page resolution, H, Res. 807, notes that Ahmadinejad has said Israel should be “wiped off the map,” and that Jews are a “false people” who “cannot continue to exist.” The Iranian leader has also said Jews are “like cattle,” that the “Zionist regime is the hotbed for germs and cancerous cells” and that the Holocaust is a lie and a “myth” that Jews invented.
The resolution asserts that those comments, among others, violate the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948. Article 3 of the Convention says incitement to commit genocide is a punishable act.
As a result, the resolution concludes that, “The House of Representatives calls for the arrest and prosecution of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide.”
There is precedent for prosecution under incitement to genocide. In 1998, Rwandan Jean Paul Akayesu was tried and convicted on 9 of 15 counts of genocide, including the charge of incitement to genocide, which emanated from a speech he gave calling for the elimination of the Tutsis. Other cases were Belgian national Georges Ruggiu and Rwandan leader Jean Kambanda.
Israel previously called for Ahmadinejad’s arrest in 2010. Others have called for Ahmadinejad’s prosecution under incitement to genocide as well, including legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, who said, “The world cannot afford once again to look back after a genocide and regret that they did not take seriously the incitements to genocide that preceded the awful event. Now is our opportunity to satisfy our international obligation to prevent genocide.”
Recently, Republican candidate Mitt Romney said that if elected president he would “make sure that Ahmadinejad is indicted under the Genocide Convention.”
“His words amount to genocide incitation,” Romney said.