President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed during a two-day visit to Qatar that South Africa has petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the Israeli government for suspected war crimes in Gaza.
According to the video address shared on his X account, the accusation against Israel, which has not joined the Rome Statute – the treaty founding the ICC – was taken “together with many other countries in the world,” Ramaphosa added, without saying which states were involved.
While South Africa, an outspoken backer of Palestinian sovereignty, does not support Hamas attacks on Israel, Ramaphosa claims that Israel’s reaction amounts to genocide and requires an ICC inquiry.
“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 stated last week that Bogota would ask the court to prosecute Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “the massacre” of Gaza residents.
Following an incursion by the Palestinian militant group into Israeli territory that killed an estimated 1,200 people, Israel declared war on Hamas last month. For more than a month, Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) have been bombarding Gaza.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah, more over 11,200 individuals have been murdered in the enclave since the fighting began, with another 2,700 reported missing.
South Africa joined Chad, Jordan, Bahrain, Honduras, Colombia, Bolivia, and Turkey in removing diplomats from Tel Aviv in protest to Israel’s activities in Gaza earlier this month.