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South Africa urges ICC prosecutor to expedite probe into war crimes in Gaza

May 10, 2024 at 6:55 pm

A general view of the International Criminal Court (ICC) building in The Hague, Netherlands on April 30, 2024. [Selman Aksünger – Anadolu Agency]

South Africa Friday urged the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to expedite the current investigations into the situation in Palestine, including war crimes, and crimes against humanity, Anadolu reports.

“The situation in Palestine should be prioritized by the ICC in order to deliver justice to the victims of these grave crimes,” Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said at the opening of the first Global Anti-Apartheid Conference for Palestine held in Johannesburg.

The three-day conference is aimed at highlighting the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza and the activities of illegal Israeli settlers among other issues.

Pandor said South Africa remains committed to ending impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

“We support all calls against Israeli settler colonial apartheid regime – including calls that third states must take steps towards completely decolonizing Palestine,” she said.

The top South African diplomat said third states need to recognize and condemn through regional, and international organizations Israel’s discriminatory laws, policies, and practices which have cumulatively established, and continue to maintain, an apartheid regime of systemic racial oppression and domination over the Palestinian people.

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“As South Africa, we will continue to support Palestinian efforts for membership of the United Nations and the creation of positive credible, and lasting international mechanisms to address the Palestinian cause based on international law,” she said.

Pandor said the member states of the UN General Assembly should adopt a resolution in South Africa’s view to reconstitute the UN special committee against apartheid and reestablish the United Nations center against apartheid to address Israeli authorities’ crimes against Palestinian people.

South Africa took Israel to the International Court of Justice in late 2023, accusing it of genocide in Gaza.

An interim ruling in January said it is “plausible” that Tel Aviv is committing genocide in the coastal enclave, and ordered Tel Aviv to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip in retaliation for an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas which killed about 1,200 people.

More than 34,900 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, mostly women and children, and 78,514 others injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Over seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine, according to the UN.

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