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South Africa calls on ICC to arrest Netanyahu

Pro Palestinian activists demonstrate outside the Israeli Embassy against the war in Gaza in Pretoria. 20/10/2023   -  
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South Africa

The South African government on Monday called on the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by mid-December.

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said it would signal a "total failure" of global governance if the ICC does not do so.

"The world cannot simply stand by and watch. The global community needs to rise to stop this genocide now," said Ntshavheni.

Israel says it is defending itself following the October 7 attack by Hamas which killed 1,200 people but the South African government has repeatedly described the Israeli campaign in Gaza as "genocide".

Gaza's Hamas-run government says at least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli bombardments, including at least 5,500 children.

Alongside four other countries, South Africa last week submitted a referral to the ICC to investigate whether war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Gaza.

A longtime supporter of the Palestinian cause, South Africa recalled its ambassador and diplomatic staff from Israel on November 6.

Following South Africa's move on Monday, Israel recalled its own envoy in Pretoria.  

"Against the background of recent comments from South Africa, the Israel ambassador to South Africa has been called for consultations in Jerusalem," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday night.

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