The International Criminal Court is being accused of “defying justice” following Thursday’s announcement that prosecutors will not further investigate or press charges against Israel for its 2010 deadly assault on a Gaza-bound flotilla bearing humanitarian aid from Turkey.
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. But Bensouda went on to state that the potential case or cases arising from such an investigation “would not be of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify further action by the ICC.”
“In the final analysis, I have, therefore, concluded that the legal requirements under the Rome Statute to open an investigation have not been met and I am announcing that the preliminary examination has been closed,” Besouda decided.
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.”
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