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South Africa Demands Accountability for Gaza Mass Graves; U.S. Refuses Any Investigation

April 25, 2024 (EIRNS)—South Africa has called on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to initiate an investigation into the mass graves in the Gaza Strip discovered at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis and the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following Israeli military raids and occupations of those medical facilities. Continuing to provide leadership in the drive to force through international action to end the ongoing genocide in Gaza, the South African Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the mass graves when the news broke on April 23, calling upon the ICC “to urgently lead a thorough and impartial investigation into this matter, that complies with international legal standards, to establish the facts and bring those responsible to justice.”

“South Africa is appalled by the recent grim discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of 202 Palestinian civilians at Nasser Hospital in Gaza. This follows the reported discovery of mass graves at Al-Shifa Hospital. These grim findings call for immediate and comprehensive investigations to ensure justice and accountability,” the Foreign Ministry stated.

It cited Israel’s continued dismissal of the two rulings issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in response to filings by the South African government and UN Resolutions alike, with its “unabated amid the unrelenting bombardment of Gaza,” charging that “the lack of accountability by Israel is increasingly clear.”

Reminding that the mass killings of civilians “points to the perpetration of war crimes, crimes against humanity, including murder and extermination, and genocide” under the relevant statutes of both the International Criminal Court and the 1949 Geneva Conventions, South Africa’s Foreign Ministry stated firmly that “it is the collective duty of the international community to ensure that atrocities of this nature are duly prosecuted in terms of the Rome Statute and the Geneva Conventions.”

Not so the U.S. State Department, which has made clear that it has no intention of allowing any such investigation to take place. The same day that South Africa’s Foreign Ministry issued its call to action, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel was asked at his press briefing about the reports of mass graves and if the U.S. would back UN Secretary General António Guterres’s call for an independent investigation into those responsible.

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