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confronting Israeli apartheid in British courts

All-Day Training
DATE: Saturday 12 March 



Following interventions by a number of award-winning NGOs, and in particular with the release of Human Rights Watch’s ‘A Threshold Crossed’ report in April 2021, it has become increasingly acceptable in liberal circles to name and criticise Israeli apartheid. With this growing recognition of apartheid in civil society and by some states, lawyers are increasingly encountering this international legal concept in the course of their domestic professional practice. This one-day course is aimed at practicing lawyers, law students and activists interested in equipping themselves with the in-depth knowledge of the Palestinian context needed to navigate apartheid-related issues in and beyond court.


Join the Learning Co-operative and the Materialist Lawyers’ Group for comprehensive, expert-led training about how lawyers practicing in British courts can deploy the concepts of apartheid, colonialism, Zionism, and anti-Zionism in a variety of domestic jurisdictions to advance justice, democracy and Palestinian liberation.


The course will follow the following schedule:

Introduction (10:00-10:30)

Session 1, The international law of apartheid and its relevance to Palestine, (Rania Muhareb, 10:30-12:30). 


Apartheid is increasingly recognised as a relevant framework through which to analyse the prolonged denial of Palestinian rights. This is not new, however. Decades of scholarship and activism have laid the groundwork for today’s growing discourse on Israeli apartheid. In this session, students will explore how the concept of apartheid is defined in international law, how apartheid applies to Palestine, and discuss some of the legal implications of an apartheid finding. The session aims to provide a better understanding of apartheid under international law, how it relates to other applicable frameworks in Palestine, notably military occupation and settler colonialism, and what legal avenues exist to challenge apartheid.


Lunch (12:30-13:00)

Session 2, Arguing apartheid when claiming asylum (Franck Magennis, 13:00-14:45).

In October 2021, an anti-Zionist Jewish Israeli challenged the British Home Office’s refusal of his asylum claim on the basis that he fears conscription into Israel’s apartheid regime. Franck Magennis will lead a session on how to deploy apartheid and related concepts in the context of similar asylum/international protection claims involving anti-Zionist Israeli and Palestinian clients. The session will include analysis of some of the specific factual and legal issues that can arise in such cases, as well as broader questions of messaging and media strategy.

Break (14:45-15:00)

Session 3, Apartheid: a criminal perspective (Mira Hammad), 15:00-16:45. 

Students will discuss the elements of the offence of apartheid as an international crime and domestic offence, the possibilities and limits of universal jurisdiction, defending anti-apartheid and anti-Zionist free speech, and the interaction between international human rights law and domestic criminal defence.

Concluding discussion (16:45-17:00)

Rania Muhareb is an Irish Research Council and Hardiman PhD scholar at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She is a Policy Member of Al-Shabaka – The Palestinian Policy Network and former legal researcher and advocacy officer with the Palestinian human right organisation Al-Haq. Her PhD research examines the relevance and implications of applying the apartheid framework to Palestine.


Franck Magennis (barrister in England & Wales, 2016 call) practises in public, civil and criminal defence. His work centres on challenging rights breaches by the British and other states, employers and landlords. He has experience in bringing legal claims connected to Palestinian emancipation from Israeli apartheid.


Mira Hammad (barrister in England & Wales, 2019 call) is a human rights barrister specialising in criminal defence, inquests and inquiries. Her criminal defence practice particularly focuses on defending protestors. In her inquests and inquiry practice she represents bereaved families whose loved ones have died in a wide range of circumstances involving the state or private companies. Prior to coming to the bar, Mira practiced as a solicitor.


This training is being held online via Zoom. Please book your ticket below. Any money raised will go towards covering the costs of the training and sustaining the Learning Co-operative.

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