USI supports protest calling for Ireland joining ICJ case against genocide in Gaza

The demonstration in support of a Dáil motion put forth by the Social Democrats is to take place outside Leinster House this evening

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has called on students to join demonstrations at Leinster House this evening in support of a motion for Ireland to join South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

The demonstration, which is co-organised by the USI along with the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC),  Palestinian Rights Institute (PRI), Action for Palestine Ireland (AFPI), Mothers against Genocide, and the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM), will take place at 5.30pm this evening.

Irish actor Liam Cunningham is expected to recite a poem at the protest by the late Palestinian poet, Refaat Alareer, who was killed during Israeli airstrikes on Gaza last December.

Speaking ahead of the protest, USI Vice President for Campaigns, Zaid Al-Barghouthi said: “We have a moral duty to do everything we can to reach a ceasefire in Gaza.

“In this context, we view an intervention by Ireland in South Africa’s ICJ case as a step that would bring us closer to that objective

“Students have been active voices in the calls for a ceasefire, and for sanctions to be placed on the State of Israel for unleashing a genocide on the people of Gaza.”

IPSC Vice-Chairperson, Fatin Al Tamimi said: “We are urging the Irish government to support South Africa’s brave and principled stance at the ICJ. 

“The Irish people stand firmly with the Palestinian people, the Irish government needs to reflect the public’s will.”

The motion from the Social Democrats calls on the Irish government to “take its obligations under the genocide convention seriously and support South Africa in its efforts to stop a genocide in Gaza by intervening in the case at the ICJ as a matter of urgency at the earliest possible opportunity”. 

The motion quotes article one of the Genocide Convention, which obligates states to “prevent and to punish” acts of genocide, noting that Ireland has previously acted on this obligation by filing an intervention in support of a case taken to the ICJ by Ukraine against Russia in 2022. 

Speaking in the Dáil today, Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns said that the government has a “legal obligation to act to prevent a genocide in Gaza”, addding that the government “talks about holding the Israel to account, but has failed at every opportunity to do so”. 

South Africa delivered its preliminary evidence against Israel at the ICJ earlier this month. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said in the Dáil yesterday that the government would wait until South Africa files its main case and then decide “on the nature of any intervention”.

Charlotte Kent

Charlotte Kent is the Co-News Editor at Trinity News and a Senior Freshman PPES Student.