The South African government has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the Israeli government for alleged war crimes in Gaza, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during a two-day visit to Qatar.
The claim against Israel, which has not ratified the Rome Statute – the treaty establishing the ICC was taken “together with many other countries in the world”, Ramaphosa said, without specifying which nations were involved according to the video address posted on his X account.
Ramaphosa claimed that while South Africa, an active supporter of Palestinian sovereignty, does not endorse the Hamas attacks on Israrl, the Israeli response amounts to genocide that warrants an ICC investigation.
“We are opposed to the operation that is ongoing, particularly as it is now targeting hospitals where babies, women, and the injured are dying like flies,” the South African leader said.
“There is a need for the whole world to rise and call for the Israeli government to ceasefire, and stop what is happening and the ICC to investigate. Of course, legal measures need to be taken at a global level,” he added.
Colombian President, Gustavo Petro, had last week said Bogota would request that the court prosecute Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over “the massacre” of civilians in Gaza.
Israel declared war on Hamas last month following a raid by the Palestinian militant group into Israeli territory that killed an estimated 1,200 people. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been bombarding Gaza for more than a month.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah has said that more than 11,200 people have been killed in the enclave since the hostilities erupted, with another 2,700 reported missing.
Earlier this month, South Africa joined Chad, Jordan, Bahrain, Honduras, Colombia, Bolivia, and Turkey in recalling diplomats from Tel Aviv in response to Israel’s actions in Gaza.