Fact-checking Julian Borger on Ahmadinejad’s incitement to genocide

The Guardian’s diplomatic editor Julian Borger published a post on the recent U.S. presidential debate titled ‘Fact-checking the final presidential debate’, Oct. 23.

Among the statements by the candidates checked for accuracy by Borger was the following claim by Romney.

First, Borger’s obfuscation regarding Ahmadinejad’s record of explicit threats to annihilate Israel is shameful.

Here’s a sample of the threats by Ahmadinejad not included by Borger.

“Israel’s days are numbered … peoples of region know there is the narrowest opportunity to annihilate this false regime.”

“the Zionist regime will be wiped out, and humanity will be liberated” — freed, that is, from the “acquisitive and invasive” minority.

“Thanks to God, your wish will soon be realized, and this germ of corruption will be wiped off the face of the world.”

“Iran will support Hamas until the destruction of Israel.”

Here are more quotes by Ahmadinejad:

“The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumor. Even if the Zionists remain on one span (more like inch) of the Land of Palestine is dangerous, because they will come to have a legal and official government.”


“Very soon, this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel] will be purged from the center of the Islamic world – and this is attainable.”

You can read this comprehensive document, written by Justus Reid Weiner in 2006, which makes the case for indicting Ahmadinejad for genocide.

UN Convention on Genocide:

More importantly, contrary to what Borger writes, Article III of the Convention on Genocide adopted by United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948, does in fact include, as a punishable crime, “Direct and public incitement to commit genocide“.

Here’s Article IV: “Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.”

Here’s Article VI: “Persons charged with genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal.”

United States Law on Genocide:

Additionally, per the Genocide Accountability Act, the United States has had universal jurisdiction over genocide since 2007.  Here are the relevant sections:

So, contrary to what Borger claims, both the international genocide law, and the U.S. law, appear to include “incitement to genocide” within their legal definition of the crime.

You can contact Julian Borger on Twitter to point out his error regarding the Genocide Convention:


Also, consider emailing the Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott:


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