SA wants ICC to issue arrest warrant against Netanyahu by December

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said Cabinet has called for the International Criminal Court to immediatelt arrest senior Israeli officials.

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says Cabinet expects that the International Criminal Court will issue a warrant of arrest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his senior officials before its conference in December.

Ntshavheni said if the ICC fails to do so, it would mean the failure of the global justice system.

She said South Africa joined other countries when its ambassador in The Hague, Vusi Madonsela personally delivered a referral for Netanyahu and his senior officials to be probed for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ntshavheni, who was briefing the media on Monday following the Cabinet meeting, said the complaint by South Africa to the ICC was adding to the already ongoing investigation by the ICC into atrocities committed in Palestine.

She said the world cannot watch while Palestine was on fire and women and children were killed in their numbers.

There have been more children killed in Gaza in one month compared to children killed in all conflicts in the world in the last four years.

The UN staff has not been spared either, as dozens of staff members from the world governing body have been killed in Gaza.

Ntshavheni said the referral of Israel to the ICC was for the court to act quickly.

“Given that much of the global community is witnessing the commission of these crimes in real time, including statements of genocidal intent by many Israeli leaders, we expect that warrants of arrest for these leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, should be issued shortly.

“The ICC has been able to investigate the situation in Palestine since 2021 when the issue of territorial jurisdiction was settled. However, we have noted that the office of the prosecutor has continued to drag its feet despite the gravity of the situation. The current atrocities may not have occurred if these investigations took place as soon as the Palestinian Authority first made its referral.

“We expect now that other State parties have also added their voices for an end to the impunity by Israel and the significant levels of evidence available that international warrants of arrest will be issued by the time the conference of parties meets in mid-December in New York. Failure to do so will be indicative of a lack of will to act by the ICC and the strong signal to the total failure of the global system of good governance and justice and the need to establish a new system,” said Ntshavheni.

The remarks by Ntshavheni come at the time Parliament will vote on a motion to close the Israeli embassy in Pretoria.

Parliament will vote on the motion on Tuesday, following the debate last week.

The ANC, EFF, NFP and Al-Jama-ah have supported the motion to close the Israeli embassy.

But the IFP, DA and Freedom Front Plus warned against this decision, saying it was hasty.

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