Gaza Genocide: South Africa hails move to arrest Netanyahu, Hamas leaders

PRETORIA: South Africa, which led international efforts to brand Israel’s assault on Gaza a genocide, on Monday welcomed a request to issue international arrest warrants against both Israeli and Hamas leaders.

President Cyril Ramaphosa hailed International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan’s request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and three Hamas chiefs.

Separately, South Africa has lodged a complaint at another court in The Hague, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), complaining that Israel’s campaign in the Palestinian territory of Gaza amounts to a genocide.

But Ramaphosa’s government is not always consistent in its attitude to international law, notably asking that it be exempted from enforcing an ICC warrant against Russia’s President Vladimir Putin if he had attended a Johannesburg summit.

On Monday, however, Ramaphosa was unequivocal in his support for the latest prosecution request to issue new arrest warrants.

“South Africa is committed to the international rule of law, universal respect for human rights and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation and not war, and the self-determination of all peoples, including the Palestinians,” he said.

A statement from Ramaphosa’s office said: “South Africa welcomes the decision… on the application for arrest warrants for the prime minister and defence minister of Israel and three leaders of Hamas for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the ICC within the context of the present conflict in Gaza.

“The law must be applied equally to all in order to uphold the international rule of law, ensure accountability for those that commit heinous crimes and protect the rights of victims,” it said.

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