Al Jazeera submits Shireen Abu Akleh case to ICC
Al Jazeera has submitted a case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot in the head while covering an Israeli raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank in May.
“Al Jazeera’s legal team has conducted a full and detailed investigation into the case and unearthed new evidence based on several eyewitness accounts, the examination of multiple items of video footage, and forensic evidence pertaining to the case,” Al Jazeera said in a statement Tuesday.
The network claims new evidence and video show the Palestinian-American journalist and her colleagues were directly fired at in a “deliberate killing” by what Al Jazeera called Israeli occupation forces, a claim which Israel has repeatedly denied.
Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid Tuesday has repeated a long-standing rejection to any outside authority investigating Israel Defense Forces troops.
“No one will investigate IDF soldiers and no one will preach to us about morals in warfare, certainly not Al Jazeera,” Lapid said.
The IDF referred CNN questions about the ICC case to the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which declined to comment.
The US also opposes bringing Abu Akleh’s case to the ICC, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a briefing Tuesday.
“We maintain our longstanding objections to the ICC’s investigation into the Palestinian situation and the position the ICC should focus on its core mission, and that core mission of serving as a court of last resort and punishing and deterring atrocity crimes,” Price said.
The ICC confirmed Tuesday that it had received a submission from Al Jazeera.
“Under article 15 of the Rome Statute any individual or group may send information (communications) on alleged crimes to the ICC Prosecutor, who is duty bound to protect the confidentiality of the information received,” the prosecutor’s office told CNN via email.
‘A high possibility’
In September, the IDF admitted there is a “high possibility” Abu Akleh was “accidentally” shot and killed by Israeli fire aimed at “suspects identified as armed Palestinian gunmen during an exchange of fire.”
The IDF said at the time the Israeli military did not intend to pursue criminal charges or prosecutions of any of the soldiers involved.
A CNN investigation published two weeks after Abu Akleh was killed suggested that the fatal shot came from a position where IDF troops are known to have been positioned. The pattern of gunfire on a tree behind where she was standing at the time suggested that the gunfire was targeted rather than indiscriminate, an expert told CNN.
The CNN investigation unearthed evidence — including two videos of the scene of the shooting — suggesting that there was no active combat, nor any Palestinian militants, near Abu Akleh in the moments leading up to her death.
She was wearing a flak jacket identifying her as press at the time she was killed.
Al Jazeera said Tuesday: “The claim by the Israeli authorities that Shireen was killed by mistake in an exchange of fire is completely unfounded. The evidence presented to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) confirms, without any doubt, that there was no firing in the area where Shireen was, other than the IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) shooting directly at her.”
“The IOF inquiry that found there was no suspicion of any crime being committed is entirely undermined by the available evidence which has now been provided to the OTP. The evidence shows that this deliberate killing was part of a wider campaign to target and silence Al Jazeera,” the network added.
Abu Akleh’s family also submitted an official complaint to the ICC earlier this year to demand justice for her death, Al Jazeera reported.
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