JOHANNESBURG – Anticipating the visit by the former Israeli President Shimon Perez to South Africa, a Muslim lawyers association has filed an official request with authorities to have him arrested when he enters the country next week.
“We have launched a complaint with the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Hawks [specialized police services] and the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) to arrest Peres for war crimes and crimes against humanity,” attorney Yousha Tayob of the South African Muslim Lawyers Association(MLA) told Anadolu Agency Wednesday, February 24.
Tayob accused Perez of committing numerous crimes, including involvement in Israel’s shelling of the southern Lebanese village of Qana in 1996.
During the then war with Hezbollah, Israeli forces fired artillery shells at a UN compound in Qana, killing 106 people.
Peres was Israel’s prime minister at that time.
“Peres violated many laws that protect the right to life. He breached many international laws,” Tayob said by telephone.
The former Israeli president will arrive South Africa this weekend for a fundraising event hosted by the Israel United Appeal (IUA) and the United Communal Fund (UCF).
This is not the first time for the Johannesburg based Muslim Lawyers Association to file a complaint against politicians for presumed crimes.
In 2013, the group filed a lawsuit against US President Barack Obama, demanding his arrest over involvement in drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“We believe there will be a lot of politics at play in this case, but we’ve given the prosecution authority sufficient evidence to prove that Peres committed these crimes,” Tayob said.
The demographics of South Africa encompass about 52 million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages, and religions; Muslims comprise just over 1.5 percent of the population according to the CIA World Factbook.
The last census was held in 2011, the next one is slated to take place anywhere between 2016–2021.