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South Africa welcomes ICC announcement on the application for arrest warrants for the situation in the State of Palestine

South Africa welcomes the decision by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Kahn KC, on the application for arrest warrants for the Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Israel and three leaders of Hamas for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the ICC within the context of the present conflict in Gaza.

The law must be applied equally to all in order to uphold the international rule of law, ensure accountability for those that commit heinous crimes and protect the rights of victims.   

To this end, the Rome Statute is premised on holding those most responsible for atrocity crimes accountable for their conduct.

"South Africa is committed to the international rule of law, universal respect for human rights and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation and not war, and the self-determination of all peoples, including the Palestinians," says President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

This commitment together with the paralysis experienced in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), preventing it from exercising its peace and security mandate with respect to the conflict in Gaza, resulted in South Africa in approaching the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), on the basis of the Genocide Convention, with a view to restrain Israeli action and protect Palestinian civilians and non-combatants.

South Africa recalls that the widespread deprivation of food and other basic necessities and the blocking of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza resulted in unprecedented levels of food insecurity and formed the basis for its request to the Court to order additional provisional measures against Israel.

"We have also consistently held that all participants to the conflict must ensure that fighting and hostilities come to an immediate end, that all hostages must be released immediately, and that Israel immediately withdraws its military forces from Gaza. This is the only way in which the rights of the Palestinian civilian population can be protected and the basis for sustainable peace can be achieved," says the President. 

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President, on

Issued by: The Presidency

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