South African nationals to be prosecuted for IDF service
Pro-Palestinian groups in South Africa cite law prohibiting citizens from taking part in foreign armed conflicts; 5 citizens due to be prosecuted, possibly jailed.
South African nationals serving in the IDF may find themselves in hot water upon returning home due to the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act, an act which officials in South Africa recently threatened to use in order to prosecute those who’ve played a part in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A recent report in the South Africa Independent online said that a group known as the Action Forum in Support of Palestine was planning to open a legal case to prosecute Dean Goodson, a young South African they claimed was serving in the IDF.
IDF tanks withdrawing from Gaza. Troops with South African citizenship may face prosecution when returning home. (Photo: Gil Yochanon)
According to the report, the act stipulates that South Africans taking part in any armed conflicts outside the nation’s borders could face prosecution and jail while only the defense minister could allow for such action by recommendation of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee.
Mahomed Bester from the Action Forum in Support of Palestine told the South Africa Independent that, “The spirit of the Act is to prevent citizens of South Africa from being directly or indirectly involved in human rights violations outside the country. I am hereby calling for the prosecution of Dean Goodson for participating in criminal acts against citizens in Gaza.”
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The Defense Department clarified that they had not granted any special allowances for South Africans to join the IDF but that they were aware that some citizens had join the Israeli military regardless. Officials also told the South Africa Independent that citizens were suspected of fighting in Afghanistan and West African conflicts.
The Action Forum in Support of Palestine said that they also plan to bring cases against four other individuals who they believe to be serving in the IDF.
Similar claims were made by pro-Palestinian groups as a result of Operation Cast Lead in 2009 when 73 South Africans were accused of illegally serving in the IDF. Charges were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence.