Death of Christian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh: Al Jazeera submits the case to the International Criminal Court
The Qatari television channel Al Jazeera announced on Tuesday that it had submitted a file to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing the Israeli army of having deliberately killed the American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in May. Israel and the United States both expressed their opposition to the referral on Tuesday.
New developments in the case concerning the death of Palestinian-American Christian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Al Jazeera claims that the material submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) highlights "new evidence and video footage clearly showing that Shireen Abu Akleh and his colleagues were fired directly at by the Israeli occupation forces" on May 11.
That day, the star journalist of Al Jazeera was killed by a bullet in the head during an Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank.
"My family still doesn't know who fired the fatal bullet and who was in the chain of command that killed my aunt," Lina Abu Akleh, the journalist's niece, told a press conference in The Hague.
After receiving complaints from individuals or groups of individuals, the prosecutor decides independently on the cases he intends to submit to the judges of the Court.
It is then up to these judges to decide whether or not the prosecutor should open a preliminary investigation, which may be followed by a full investigation and, if necessary, one or more indictments.
An approach decried by Israel and the United States
The ICC, created in 2002 to judge the worst atrocities committed in the world, opened in 2021 an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories. But Israel is not a member of the ICC, and has said it will not cooperate with any external investigation into the journalist's death.
“No one will investigate IDF (Israeli army) soldiers and no one will preach morality to us in war, certainly not Al Jazeera,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement.
"We oppose it," also told the press the spokesman for American diplomacy Ned Price. “The International Criminal Court must concentrate on its main mission”, consisting according to him of being “the court of last resort to punish and deter atrocious crimes”, specified the spokesperson for the State Department in Washington.
The ICC prosecutor's office for its part confirmed that it "received the communication" from Al Jazeera but does not comment on individual submissions.
The day of her death, at 51, the journalist was covering armed clashes sparked by an Israeli military operation in the Jenin camp, a stronghold of the Palestinian armed factions, where a special unit was trying to apprehend suspects.
The journalist, a Christian, was equipped with a bullet-proof vest marked "press" and a helmet, and the Palestinian Authority and Al Jazeera immediately accused the Israeli army of having killed her.
The evidence also shows according to the channel that there was no shooting in the area, except those of the Israeli soldiers. The journalists were "in full view" and walked slowly along a deserted road.
The Israeli army first acknowledged in September that there was a "strong possibility" that Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by one of its soldiers, but certainly not deliberately.
"The Israeli authorities' claim that Shireen was mistakenly killed in an exchange of fire is completely unfounded," according to Al Jazeera, claiming that Israeli forces "directly fired" at the journalists.
Rodney Dixon, the lawyer mandated by Al Jazeera, considered that there was an "attempt to completely conceal" the circumstances of the death of the journalist on the part of Israel.
Journalist's death stems from Israel's 'systematic and large-scale campaign' against Al Jazeera, he said, also referring to the destruction of the building that housed the station's office in Gaza during an Israeli bombardment in 2021.
The Editorial Board (with AFP)