South African Lawfare

Another lawfare development to keep your eye on, this one in South Africa. Apparently the investigations that went into the Goldstone Report also turned up evidence of South African nationals fighting in Gaza on behalf of the IDF. It’s not clear from the article in what capacity they were fighting, that is, whether they were contractors, mercenaries or Jewish South Africans who enlisted in the IDF out of solidarity. In any event, a group of South African lawyers is trying to build the case for a war crimes investigation.

We’ve already seen some of the legal difficulties that have arisen with regard to holding U.S. military contractors responsible for criminal conduct under U.S. military or civilian justice. In fact, it has often seemed as if there is a legal loophole that makes prosecuting such conduct next to impossible.

But the U.S. military effort in Iraq and Afghanistan has made use of non-American military contractors, recruited by subcontractors in Latin America and Eastern Europe. (David Axe reported on the latter in his WPR column some months back.) Which means that theoretically, these contractors could be held responsible in their countries of origin.

So the South Africa case could be a precedent-setting one worth watching.