The Tribunal was organized by The Spirit of Mandela, a campaign created to bring awareness to U.S. violations of the human rights of Black, Brown, and Indigenous People and U.S. held political prisoners. (Photo by The Spirit of Mandela)

By Special to the AFRO

A distinguished panel of nine international jurists has released its detailed final verdict finding the United States guilty of genocide against Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples. 

The jury found the United States guilty on five counts, based on testimony and documents presented at last October’s historic human-rights tribunal held in New York. 

The 46-page document builds on the historic legal and political precedents represented by previous findings such as the Civil  Rights Congress’s 1951 “We Charge Genocide” petition, presented to the United Nations by Paul Robeson and William Patterson. Malcolm X’s 1964 call for bringing the U.S. before the World Court for human rights violations was also served as a catalyst for the hearing, along with last year’s report by the International  Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African  Descent, which found that the recent spate of police shootings of civilians constitute “crimes against humanity.” 

The international panel of jurists is an independent body made up of legal scholars, human rights advocates and activists, and community leaders. 

The full verdict of the 2021 International Tribunal fleshes out the preliminary verdict issued by the jurists last October. 

“After having heard the testimony of numerous victims of police racism, hyper-mass incarceration, environmental racism, public health inequities, and of political prisoners/prisoners of war, together with the expert testimonies and graphic presentations, as well as the copious documentation submitted and admitted in the record, the Panel of Jurists find the U.S. and its subdivisions GUILTY of all five counts,” read the verdict. “We find that acts of genocide have been committed.” 

The jurists relied on the definition codified in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, ratified by 152 nations. 

Besides forbidding mass  murders, the Convention also outlaws “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members  of the group” and “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring  about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” 

The Tribunal was organized by The Spirit of Mandela, an unprecedented U.S. alliance of attorneys, academics, human and immigrant rights supporters, and organizers from the Black Liberation, Puerto Rican decolonization, and Indigenous sovereignty/earth protection movements.

Opening their final verdict, the Jurists evaluated the testimonies evidence of genocide in particular against Indigenous and Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples in the U.S. 

The Jurists noted the widespread acceptance by scholars that “a total, relentless and pervasive genocide in the Americas” had occurred against Indigenous peoples since 1492. They also noted, both historically and today, “the consistency of broken treaties between the U.S. government and Native peoples.” 

As to the Black population, the jurists quoted the citations by Tribunal Chief Prosecutor Nkechi Taifa of “racially biased executions and  extrajudicial killings…whether by lynch mobs or officers of the law,” as well as  “discriminatory treatment…embedded in police departments, prosecutor’s offices, and courtrooms.” 

Taifa summarized, “The cumulative impact of destructive treatment against  Blacks in the criminal justice system, combined with challenging conditions of life  negatively impacting generations, constitutes institutionalized genocide—the human rights crisis facing 21st Century Black America.”

The jurists’ verdict summarized the testimony evidence of 30 witnesses over two days, as  well as detailed documentation, finding that “the wrongs have been historic and  deliberate,” and found that the various acts of genocide currently manifest as “medical and digital apartheid, chemical warfare, environmental violence and racism, divestment, and a  pandemic of accessible guns and drugs – with the majority of gun violence perpetrated by  police and security forces.” 

They also cited “new forms of colonialism” such as “the prison industrial complex, the military industrial complex, the commercialization of our health and privatization/ commodification of all social services.” 

The Verdict proceeded to summarize the testimony and documentation as to each of the five counts of genocide. 

The jurists’ verdict closed by calling for authorities to go beyond simple apologies. 

“The continued disparity of police killings and hyper-mass incarcerations; the continued  incarceration of such prisoners as Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Imam Jamil Al Amin; the ongoing extreme health inequities causing the avoidable deaths of countless members of the affected groups, all indicate a need for urgent and immediate remediation.”

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