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Former Supreme Court Judges Warn UK Arming Israel May Break International Law

Protesters seen wearing masks of Benjamin Netanyahu (L), David Cameron (C) and Rishi Sunak (R) while raising their hands covered in fake blood during the demonstration. Pro-Palestinian supporters and human rights activists continue to demonstrate in London. They call for the UK Government to support a sustainable ceasefire solution for the Israel-Gaza War. (Photo by Hesther Ng / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

More than 600 legal professionals, including three former Supreme Court judges, signed a letter on Thursday requesting the UK to stop selling weapons to Israel due to the worsening situation in Gaza. The letter accuses the UK of potentially breaching

More than 600 legal professionals, including three former Supreme Court judges, signed a letter on Thursday requesting the UK to stop selling weapons to Israel due to the worsening situation in Gaza.

The letter, spanning 17 pages, accuses the UK of potentially breaching international law by continuing its arms trade with Israel, citing a possible risk of genocide in Gaza as indicated in a preliminary ruling by the International Court of Justice.

In the letter, the experts argue that stopping the sales could put significant diplomatic and political pressure on Israel, especially as its actions in Gaza come under global scrutiny. One of the notable signatories is a former Supreme Court president, who supports taking Lady Halemeaningful measures to prevent the UK from being involved in potential violations of international law.

The plea for action comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces mounting pressure, particularly following the recent deaths of seven aid workers in an Israeli air strike.

In an interview with the BBC, former Supreme Court judge Lord Jonathan Sumption detailed the rationale behind the letter's argument and his decision to sign it:

I thought that it was a persuasive and moderately expressed letter, which makes some very important points that the UK government seems to be losing sight of. The most important point is that Article 1 of the Genocide Convention requires states to do what they can to prevent genocide. Now, it hasn’t yet been determined whether what the Israelis are doing is genocide. The ICJ, International Court of Justice, is considering that issue. But they have already ruled that there is a plausible case that that is what is going on in Gaza. And it seems to me that if you have a duty, as we do, under international law, to prevent genocide, and there is a plausible case that that is what is happening, you should do what you can to obstruct it.

In a controversial development, the deaths of seven aid workers, including three Britons, in Gaza have led to increased calls for a review of the UK's arms export policies. Sunak has called for an independent inquiry into the strike, while Israel denies accusations of genocide and assures its own investigation into what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu termed an "unintended" tragedy.

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