With its suit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel for allegedly violating the 1948 UN Genocide Convention through its actions in Gaza, the South African government is challenging the Western-dominated international order.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has long been accused by African countries of persecuting Africans in particular. And the presence of double standards in the US and Europe is indeed undeniable. Either you condemn the bombing of civilians and imminent ethnic cleansing – no matter whether in Ukraine, Syria or Gaza – or you do not.

But does that not apply to South Africa too?

When Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir came to Johannesburg in 2015 for an African Union summit, South Africa refused to arrest him and hand him over to the ICC. Despite the fact it was obliged to do so as an ICC member since the Court had indicted al-Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

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After Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, with the manifest genocidal intention of wiping the sovereign nation and its culture off the map, South Africa abstained from voting during UN resolutions condemning the invasion and annexations of Ukrainian territories. Despite the fact that Russia’s actions were in violation of the UN charter, including the principle of sovereignty.

South Africa’s abstention was also despite the staggering number of Russian war crimes, including destruction of cities (urbicide) according to the Genghis Khan method, bombing of civilian targets killing thousands and displacing millions, shelling of evacuation routes, arbitrary executions (even though Russia itself does not even have the death penalty), rapes, torture, deportations, child robberies and more. Through Russia’s campaign, many Ukrainian settlements have been virtually wiped out.

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None of these acts, along with the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports which resulted in a global rise in food prices that took African countries to the brink of famine, changed South African voting patterns.

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As Russian President Vladmir Putin himself stated, he seeks to restore the tsarist empire established in the 15th century through conquests and colonial subjugation of non-Russian peoples. However, at a ceremony in September 2022 to mark the “annexation” of four Ukrainian regions, Putin justified it by recalling the slave trade and colonial plunder of Africa and presenting himself as a leader of the global anti-colonial struggle against the West.

Meanwhile, in Sudan, the Central African Republic and Mali, among others, Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner group was embroiled in serious human rights violations and neocolonial exploitations that financed the imperialist Russian war machine in Ukraine.

Yet South Africa did not even flinch from holding joint naval drills with Russia and China (the latter accused by several countries and organizations of genocide against the Uyghurs) in February 2023 – one year following the Russian invasion. The foundation of late South African archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu blasted these actions as “disgraceful” and “amounting to joining the war on Ukraine.”

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Has South Africa forgotten that the former Soviet Republic of Ukraine also supported the African anti-colonial struggle and even trained African National Congress (ANC) fighters? 

Olexiy Haran, professor of political science at the National University Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, recalled that African diplomats once associated Ukraine with anti-colonial and anti-apartheid resolutions. Indeed, not the USSR, but Ukraine, was a member of the UN Special Commission against Apartheid, in which Ukrainian Hennadii Udovenko served as vice chairman between 1985 and 1992.

“We have obligations to the Genocide Convention” stated South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to the BBC. Does that obligation not apply with respect to Russian and Chinese practices?

The conclusion cannot be anything other than that the indictment of Israel demonstrates that South Africa employs double standards too.

The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

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Comments (11)

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IDF
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Now theres a hamas propoganda troll. 🐕💩

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CEESBOOGAART
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and so are Ukraine's for supporting "Israeli" occupiers of Palestine

A very IMPORTANT MAP showing the massive destruction of Palestinian villages and cities (English) https://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Maps/Story1261.html In a way you can see of way Israel treated Palestinas what would happen if ruzzia conquered Ukraine, Annihilation of people, culture, history:
https://www.reddit.com/r/russiawarinukraine/comments/176svky/how_israel_was_created_but_how_exactly_was_that/

Shalom
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@CEESBOOGAART, 🐕💩

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Joseph Swanson
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No one seriously expects any better from a communist filth controlled nation.

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Go Soviets
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Soviet Ukraine supplied and helped the ANC with limpet mines etc. to kill civilians, bomb churches, restaurants etc. etc. And hows that working out for Ukraine today with their Soviet communist ANC friends in South Africa , and the communist Russians? Not sure if i must cheer for Ukraine anymore. Rogier can do a article about the ANC goverment so the world can see just who the ANC realy is. Then and now. Is Russia doing anti colianism now in Ukraine ?

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Nelson Mandela
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South Africa is a total shit hole. A corrupt country run by fucking lunatics. Israel should tell them to eat shit and mind their own fucking business. Scum bag cock suckers.

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Realist
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Seems the Ukraine is now finding out, what many South Africans knew not just before Apartheid, but also for the last 28 years. You are dealing not just with a corrupt government, but a morally corrupt one at that. If people took more notice of what was going on inside South Africa what is happening now would not come as a big surprise.

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Sipho
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Theres no shiny stars in the ruling Anc. Just black holes vacuuming money up non stop. Its a welfare corrupt state. IMF should stop giving them money.

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Mark
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The ANC government are definitely guilty of hypocrisy and this article very neatly lays it out. I'm a South African and there are many of us that are frustrated with the ANC's hypocrisy. I'm glad that the rest of the world can now also see the ANC's true colors. Another point of contention is the genocide of South African farmers, not to mention that apartheid still exists in South Africa under the banner of "Black Economic Empowerment" which allows "lawful" discrimination against the white minority.

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Finn Bjerrehave
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Lige som resten af Afrika, når den hvide mand tager hjem, er korruption eneste farbare vej til elendighed, gælder hele Afrika.

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John
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Firstly on a humanitarian basis I do not agreed with the utter GAZA infrastructure destruction and innocent Palestinian civilian health disregard which Israel has illustrated to date. It does rightfully need to thwart Hamas attacks, but not in this apocalyptic manner. I just don't buy their justification for so much civilian destruction (killed 27,365 people and wounded more than 66,000 as of Sunday) .

Regarding South Africa's (SA) ANC, it is surprising their current distain for the western democratic nations that helped them end Apartheid via sanctions against the prior oppressive leadership there. That in turn opened the door for current democratic elections which allowed the ANC to now govern. Its was the morally right thing to do.

Their relation with Ukraine is probably tainted by the opposite tact being assumed by the USSR which at the time of Apartheid finally ending (1990) still included Ukraine (independent in 1991). Albeit USSR did supply ANC with arms, they were also simultaneously suppling the official SA government of that period with even more and deadly arms, as well as helping them finance the government with diamond sales circumventing the allied sanctions. In essence like Turkey is currently doing for Russia, in regards to SA they were profiting from both sides.

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Paolo
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The bipolar world is here, Not many African leaders will say no to cheap Russian energy and weapons. Obviously South Africa has no interest in the Palestinians plight but it's time to return the favour or the taps will get turned off.

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