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South African lawyers prepare case against US, UK for ‘complicity in Gaza war crimes’

South African lawyers are preparing a lawsuit against the governments of the US and UK over alleged complicity in Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.

A group of around 50 lawyers led by South African attorney Wilkus Van Rensburg are working with lawyers from the US and UK to take their case to civil courts.

“The United States must now be held accountable for the crimes it committed,” Van Rensburg told Turkey state news agency Anadolu, saying that his initiative has received lots of support from legal colleagues.

“Many lawyers decided to join us in the lawsuit. Many of those who have joined are Muslims, but I am not. They feel obligated to assist this cause, but I believe that what is happening is incorrect.”

Van Rensburg has been closely following developments in his country’s genocide filing against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), during which he has been writing to the ICJ and various states to urge the prosecution of those complicit in crimes against the Palestinians.

He says the ICJ case will serve as a guide for his initiative, and that his team will act according to the UN court’s ruling. The ICJ is expected to rule on South Africa’s request for “provisional measures” in the coming weeks, which could potentially see Israel be asked to halt its war on Gaza.

Though the international court has no power to enforce its rulings, Rensburg believes that the US could still face legal consequences even if it does not accept a ruling against Israel.

“The US must now be held responsible for the crimes it has committed. It must accept its responsibilities,” he said, referring to Washington’s deliveries of military aid to Israel.

The team of South African lawyers wrote to both the US and UK governments last week to inform them of their intention to open legal proceedings.

Israel’s war on Gaza has raged on for more than 100 days, killing at least 24,285 people – the majority civilians, according to Gaza health authorities.

At the ICJ, South Africa has argued that Israel is committing the crime of genocide against Palestinians, highlighting the massive civilian death toll, displacement of over 1.9 million people and the destruction of key infrastructure. 

Israel has responded that it is acting in “self defence” — a claim which legal experts have said that an occupying power has no entitlement to, and does not waive its responsibility to not commit genocide.

Source: The New Arab