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THERE HAS BEEN a massive increase in the number of social media posts in the past two months suggesting that billionaire tech founder Bill Gates either helped plan the coronavirus pandemic or else stands to profit from it. 

One post being shared a lot this week goes a step further: it falsely claims that Bill Gates and other high profile people and organisations are to appear before a human rights tribunal “for war crimes with intent to commit mass genocide”. 

The post on Facebook includes a note from ‘The Human Rights Tribunal International’ purporting to be an acknowledgment of court documents which have been filed to initiate the case. 

The note says that the case is between ‘the Government of The United States of America v Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Anthony Fauci, Christine Grady, Tedros Adhanom, National Governors Association, CDC, WHO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’. 

It includes a case number, a website address for the full documents, and says the case will be heard on 5 June 2020. 

The note highlights the alleged crimes: “All Articles of UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights], war crimes with intent to commit mass genocide.”

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Many of the people and organisations mentioned are popular targets of internet hoaxes. Melinda Gates is a co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable organisation, and is married to Bill Gates; Anthony Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US; Christine Grady is the head of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Centre in the US and is married to Fauci; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyeus is the director-general of the World Health Organisation. 

The National Governors Association is a political organisation made up of the governors of all US states, while the CDC is the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, a health protection agency. 

The post and the note are false: the people and organisations mentioned have not been charged with war crimes. 

The Human Rights Tribunal International, where the document purports to originate, does not exist. 

War crimes are heard by the International Criminal Court [ICC], which America is not a part of and has refused to join.  

A spokesperson for the ICC told TheJournal.ie that there are no cases pending against any of the people named in the document. 

“There are no charges brought by the ICC prosecutor against any of [these] persons and entities,” the spokesperson said. 

Further, while the document and accompanying text in the Facebook posts appears realistic at first, there are a number of other red flags. 

The document gives its date of publication as the 49th Day, Year of Yahweh, 6022. 

Additionally, the two websites given for accessing the full list of court documents contain conspiracy theories rather than official court documents.

The false post comes days after a similar claim was shared on social media about Italy seeking to charge Bill Gates with crimes against humanity.  

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There is a lot of false news and scaremongering being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not. 

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