South African civil rights organisations have launched an urgent legal request to the National Prosecuting Authority to probe and charge Israeli leaders for crimes committed against Palestinians.
Dubbed the “Al Aqsa Docket”, the applicants “Palestine Solidarity Alliance” (PSA) and “Media Review Network” (MRN) have been joined by Palestinian academic Dr Haidar Eid who is based in Gaza facing gruesome onslaught of Israel’s barbaric bombings and missiles.
They are calling on the government of South Africa’s Director of Public Prosecutions, head of the Priority Crimes Unit as well as the Minister of Police to investigate and refer complaint to the International Criminal Court.
The complainants seek the prosecution of the apartheid regime’s head Benjamin Netanyahu, its army generals, soldiers, police commanders, officers and political leaders.
In their comprehensive legal arguments, they insist that because war criminals are considered under international law to be enemies of all humankind, the complainants have an interest in the prohibition of such crimes.
One of the reasons they advance in support of the application, is that it is driven by public interest concern. Without effective prosecution of those guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes, there is a risk of South Africa becoming a safe haven for such criminals, able to travel here freely with impunity.
They claim that South Africa’s status as a responsible member of the international community requires it to hold accountable those committing crimes that shock the conscience of all humankind. And by fulfilling the responsibility to protect doctrine of crimes, the South African government will be acting to avert the further commission of such crimes.
The complainants affirm that the core principle which is at the heart of their objective to seek prosecution of Israel’s war criminals is the right to life. As a fundamental human right, it is guaranteed by article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a right which as a non-derogable in all human rights conventions, stands as a barrier against extra-judicial executions and murder.
Naazim Adam on behalf of PALESTINE SOLIDARITY ALLIANCE (PSA)
Iqbal Jassat on behalf of MEDIA REVIEW NETWORK (MRN)
For media and legal enquiries contact: Attorney Yousha Tayob