South Africa refers Israel to ICC over Gaza attacks as pressure mounts to cut diplomatic ties

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says his country has filed a referral to the International Criminal Court for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza

ByMOGOMOTSI MAGOME Associated Press

November 16, 2023, 6:18 AM

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa has filed a referral to the International Criminal Court for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

The move comes as South African lawmakers were expected to debate a motion on Thursday calling for the closure of the Israeli Embassy in South Africa and the cutting of all diplomatic ties with the country until it agrees to a cease-fire.

Ramaphosa said his country believes Israel is committing war crimes and genocide in Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians have been killed and hospitals and public infrastructure have been destroyed.

“As South Africa we have accordingly, together with many other countries across the world, referred this whole Israeli government action to the International Criminal Court,” Ramaphosa said Wednesday during a state visit to Qatar.

“We have put through a referral because we believe that war crimes are being committed there. And of course we do not condone the actions that were taken by Hamas earlier, but similarly we condemn the actions that are currently underway and believe that they warrant an investigation by the ICC,” he added.

Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress party said it would support the motion tabled by the leftist opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters for the country to shut down the Israeli Embassy and cut diplomatic ties with the country.

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