October 7th atrocities may give rise to a new war crime category, legal scholars say

The term for this type of warfare is ‘kinocide’, the deliberate killing of entire families.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Israeli and international legal experts have concluded that the nature of the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th may have created a new category of war crime termed “kinocide” or the deliberate destruction of families.

Footage, forensic evidence, witnesses, and testimonials themselves point to destructive patterns showing an intent to wipe out entire families.

On October 7th 2023, Hamas terrorists stormed the kibbutzim and the Nova Music festival, murdered 1,200 people, took 250 hostages, and committed extreme acts of rape, torture, and cruelty.

In many cases, terrorists descended on homes and killed children in front of their parents and vice versa, and in some cases, tied family members together and set fire to them.

“We have been building the case of war crimes committed on Oct. 7 and have been exposed to very, very traumatic material, especially against women and children,” Cochav Elkayam Levy, an international law, human rights and gender expert from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told Fox News Digital.

Elkayam Levy has viewed many hours of footage taken from terrorist go-pro cameras and has seen many incidents demonstrating the deliberate murder of whole families.

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She said some of the most difficult footage to view are videos of screaming children and watching terrified parents attempting to comfort them.

In one video, the eldest daughter had been murdered by terrorists, and the mother was trying to persuade the younger daughter that it hadn’t happened and her sister was still alive.

“It is truly heartbreaking, and we are seeing only a fraction of what they went through for hours and hours, with some of them then taken hostage,” said Elkayam Levy,

After her extensive research into the October 7th atrocities, Levy realized there needed to be a new definition to characterize the devastation caused by the targeting of families.

“We decided to take it upon ourselves to document the unique harm that was caused to families or the weaponization of families,” she said.

Families have often been targeted in wars, as in Rwanda in 1994 when Hutus attacked Tutsis, as well as during the Bosnian war and when Nazis separated families during the Holocaust.

What makes October 7th unique is the terrorists filmed their attacks to compound the psychological terror, with some going so far as to post videos of themselves killing Israelis on their relatives’ social media pages or sending the footage to their families on the victims’ cellphones.

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The term for this type of warfare is “kinocide”, meaning the killing of entire families.

Elkayam Levy is working with Professor Irwin Cotler, the international chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, to gain recognition of the concept of genocide and to encourage its adoption in the lexicon of international human rights law.

“Firstly, we need to raise public awareness of the notion itself,” said Cotler, admitting that revising the Rome Statute adopted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose prosecutor is currently seeking indictments for Israeli ministers and Hamas over the Gaza war, might be a challenge.

“To amend the Rome Statute would be difficult,” Cotler said. “However, the statute does contain a reference to ‘other inhumane acts,’ and ‘kinocide’ could be included in there; it would not be a new crime but would be recognized within the framework of existing war crimes.”