Folowing the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor announcing she will not take action over Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists, the ICC is being accused of “defying justice”.
The ruling came despite the court’s acknowledgement that Israel likely committed war crimes. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated Thursday that “there is a reasonable basis to believe” that Israel committed “war crimes” in its attack on the Mavi Marmara vessel, echoing the findings of a 61-page report by ICC prosecutors.
The Center for Constitutional Rights blasted the court’s decision: “It is outrageous that the ICC is refusing to prosecute Israeli officials despite acknowledging that there’s a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed. For the court to say the case ‘would not be of sufficient gravity’ to justify further action when the Israeli Defense Force attacked international vessels in international waters, killed nine people and seriously injured many more, defies any reasonable understanding of justice and international law.”
“Calling it a war crime is encouraging, but there is a factor of disappointment that they will not take this investigation further,” Ehab Lotayef of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition told Common Dreams. “Israel commits war crimes against unarmed civilians in many incidents, whether inside occupied territories in Gaza or the West Bank, whether against internationals or locals.”
The Mavi Marmara was one of six ships in 2010, organized by an international coalition of campaigners for Palestinian rights, blocked and raided by Israel while attempting to break the siege of Gaza. For the past six years, solidarity ships have sought to sail to Gaza from around the world, but since 2008, none have reached their destination.
Israeli naval commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara on the May 31, 2010, immediately killing nine people and wounding over 50, with one person later dying from the wounds sustained. An eighteen-year-old U.S. citizen was filming the raid when he was shot several times, including in the face at point-blank range, resulting in his death.