Page content

Ulster University Transitional Justice Institute and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival invite you to this event:

Introduction and Chair: Dr Thomas Hansen, TJI and Maria Zambrano Distinguished Researcher (2023-24) Carlos III University, Madrid

Speaker details


With Arabic/English simultaneous translation

Francesca Albanese,

UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,

Dr Susan Power

Director of Legal Research at Al-Haq, an independent Palestinian nongovernmental human rights organisation.

Professor William Schabas

A world-leading expert on genocide.

About this Event

On Saturday, 7 October Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups launched Operation al-Aqsa Flood, a coordinated assault consisting of land and air attacks into multiple border areas of Israel. Other militants attacked towns, kibbutzim, and roads, killing and abducting hundreds of Israeli officers and civilians. Israeli authorities recovered at least 260 bodies at the site of a music festival near Re’im. Approximately 1200 people were killed, many of them civilians. More than 220 hostages, many of them civilians, were taken into Gaza.

Citing the right to self-defence, which is set out under Article 51 of the UN Charter, Israel has responded by cutting off water, food, fuel and electricity from Gaza, undertaken a bombing campaign that has levelled much of Gaza, ordered the population of northern Gaza, including its hospitals, to evacuate, and has begun ground invasions with Israeli troops, tanks and heavy weaponry. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reports that as of 12 November 2023, at least 11078 Palestinians have been killed since 7 October, including nearly half of them children, and some 27,490 have been injured. OCHA also reported that 15 out of Gaza’s 35 hospitals are not functioning because they have run out of fuel, electricity and water. Some aid is getting into Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah crossing, and some named wounded individuals have been evacuated through this route, but this avenue of relief is very limited.

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has called for a humanitarian ceasefire and the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called for ‘at the very least…a humanitarian pause.’ A number of UN Special Procedures, individually and collectively, have alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by both Hamas and Israel and have called for a ceasefire. A number of organization's and experts have suggested that Israel’s response to the Hamas attack, in conjunction with statements made by Israeli

government officials, goes beyond the terms of the legal right to self-defence and may potentially constitute genocide.

We will explore some of the legal issues raised by this conflict: What does international humanitarian law require of combatants in this conflict? How does international human rights law affect what states may do when acting in self-defence or combatting terrorism? How is genocide understood in international law? What are the remedies available in international law to address violations during this conflict? Does international law matter?

Event info

This event has ended

Thursday 7 December

2.30pm to 4pm