ICC building in the Hague
Photo: AP
On board the Marmara. 'Overwhelming case'
Photo: AFP

Victims' families urge ICC to prosecute Israel over flotilla

The Guardian reports families of nine Turkish victims of deadly raid on Gaza-bound flotilla filed request with International Criminal Court to open investigation against IDF based on 'overwhelming' case for prosecution

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague may address a lawsuit against Israel for the murder of nine Turkish citizens in the deadly IDF raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla following an official request filed by families of the victims, The Guardian reported Friday.


According to the British newspaper, families of the victims have approached Luis Moreno Ocampo, the court's prosecutor, claiming there is an "overwhelming" case for prosecution.


The step has profound significance ahead of a possible criminal investigation against Israel.


Experts told the Guardian that the ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute those involved in the raid despite Israel not recognizing its jurisdiction.


"The attack on the flotilla occurred in international waters, which directly violated many parts of international law as well as international public and criminal law," said Ramazan Ariturk, a partner at Elmadag Law Office, the Turkish legal body that is representing the Turkish victims and the IHH.


"The crimes committed by Israeli Defense Forces should be prosecuted and the International Criminal Court is the sole authority which is able to do that," he added.

Another probe following flotilla? (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)


A spokesman on behalf of Israel responded to the report and told the newspaper that "the event is being investigated by Israel including international observers, as well as a UN investigation initiated by the UN secretary general."


He further added, "Further investigations are redundant and unnecessary, and will contribute to further alienation between otherwise friendly countries."


Court's jurisdiction

Israel, as well as the Palestinian Authority, is not party to the Rome statute, which established the ICC. An investigation of incidents involving Israel and the PA is possible only after a reference from the UN Security Council.


However, the victims' families claim that Turkey's involvement in the incident, coupled with the fact that the Marmara sailed under the flag of the Comoros Islands, provide the court with the jurisdiction to open an investigation since both countries are members of the ICC.


"Based on the overwhelming volume of materials and evidence in our possession, including expert opinions obtained from prominent specialists in international criminal law, we are of the view that the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla involves crimes which fall unambiguously within the jurisdiction of the court," the families' letter to the court stated.


A former UN war crimes prosecutor, Desmond da Silva, backed the families' bid last week saying there were grounds for an ICC investigation.



פרסום ראשון: 10.09.10, 09:59
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