The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation has confirmed that a docket on Shimon Peres has been opened and investigation is now underway. This week, the Muslim Lawyers Association lodged documents with the National Prosecution Authority, requesting its intervention. Human rights activists have accused Peres of unspeakable war crimes such as the Kana massacre in 1996. Peres arrived in South Africa today for a Zionist fund raising event this weekend.
The Media Review Network’s Ibrahim Vawda said the organisation was in possession of the docket for Peres’ arrest.
“We welcome the decision that the allegations related to crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead, and the crime of Apartheid will also be investigated,” he said.
“This ground breaking decision is a victory not only for victims of Israeli aggression but also for victims of South African Apartheid.”
Peres is known to have ordered the 1996 airstrikes on Qana in Lebanon, in which more than 200 people were murdered and hundreds wounded. During the massacre, 17 villages were flattened and over a half million people rendered homeless.
In the 1970’s, he was the chief architect of the illegal settlement project in the central regions of the West Bank. When he took over as Prime Minister after Rabin’s assassination, he had an opportunity to implement the clauses enshrined in the Oslo Agreement. Instead he entered into war with Lebanon. This resulted in the tragic events of the massacre in Qana.
Peres also assisted apartheid South Africa in procuring weapons when it was under an international embargo, and served as Israel’s president during Operation Cast Lead.
Karen Jayes from Cage Africa, a human rights group, said it is on the basis of his leadership at these two crucial events – which saw flagrant violations of the international laws of armed conflict – that the MLA is launching the docket for Peres’s arrest and trial for war crimes. South Africa, in terms of customary international law and the Domestic International Criminal Court Act, has full jurisdiction to arrest Peres and bring him to court.
“South Africa is currently spearheading the move to withdraw the African Union from the International Criminal Court based on the argument that the ICC only targets African leaders. However, when it comes to war criminals, the ICC legislation gives each national signatory full power to enforce international law domestically. Arresting Peres is a chance for the government to implement the legislation against a non-African leader and thereby increase its muscle,” she wrote this week.
“The case against Peres is compelling. It deserves broad-based support from the South African public — indeed, from people around the world — as well as recognition and prompt action from the South African government.”
Vawda said he was encouraged by the assurance that if the evidence justifies a prosecution, necessary steps will be taken to secure Peres’s presence before a South African court of Law.
“The MRN considers this investigation as a victory for all supporters of justice, freedom and human rights.”
The NPA and Muslim Lawyers Association were unavailable for comment. VOC