ICC Prosecutor: “There remains no reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.”
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has declined to open an investigation against Israel over the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident.
The decision came after the ICC appeals judges ordered their chief prosecutor to reconsider her previous rejection of calls for probe into the 2010 raid. In May 2013, Comoros, a small Muslim-majority Indian Ocean island country, approached the Hague-based tribunal to launch “war crimes” proceedings against Israel.
ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda rejected the call to open a “war crimes” probe into the 2010 raid of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The Turkish ship was trying to breach the blockade placed by Israel to prevent weapons from entering Hamas-controlled Gaza.
“There remains no reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation,” ICC chief prosecutor Bensouda said in a statement filed before the ICC. “[T]here is no reasonable basis to conclude that any potential case arising from the situation would be of sufficient gravity to be admissible before the court,” she added.
Israeli broadcaster Arutz Sheva provided the background to the ICC prosecutor’s ruling:
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Monday again said she will not press charges over a deadly 2010 Israeli raid on a flotilla bringing aid to Gaza, urging the probe to be shut.
Fatou Bensouda’s decision comes three months after the judges of the tribunal based in The Hague ordered her for a second time to reconsider probing the case. (…)
Bensouda said in 2014 that she would not prosecute Israel over the incident, saying it was “not of sufficient gravity” — which means the case could be determined as inadmissible before the ICC.
Bensouda again affirmed the decision in 2017 after judges said she must take another look at the case. Israel itself is not a party to the court but its nationals could still be prosecuted.
In a fresh setback for Bensouda after a number of high-profile failures, appeals judges in September ruled that she must once more examine whether to bring charges before court in The Hague.
But despite criticizing Bensouda in unusually strong terms, the judges said it was ultimately up to the chief prosecutor whether to prosecute.
In a 44-page reply to the judges’ order, Bensouda said she “maintains her view that the preliminary examination of this situation must be closed.”
This conclusion, she said, was reached “on the basis of a careful analysis, conducted in good faith, within the legal framework” of the situation.
Before the verdict, The Lawfare Project, a New York-based legal think tank involved with the case, had urged the ICC to “affirm the actions of the Israeli humanitarian soldiers who defended themselves against the brutal attack.”
“We’re extremely pleased the Prosecutor agreed with our analysis and reaffirmed her decision,” Lawfare Project’s executive director Brooke Goldstein said on Monday. “It’s refreshing to see an international institution doing the right thing and standing up for law and justice rather than bowing to anti-Israel political pressure.”
On May 31, 2010, the Israeli navy intercepted the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara along with five other ships attempting to break the blockade of Hamas-held Gaza. The Israeli naval operation began after several people ignored requests to redirect the boats to the nearest port of Ashdod for security inspection.
People on the Turkish ship brutally attacked the Israeli soldiers with clubs and knives as they boarded the ship. Video footage corroborated Israeli claim that violent Islamists attacked its soldiers on board the vessel.
“Roughly 40 people on board were jihadis who came for violence,” an Israeli government official said following the raid. “They were preparing to attack, to kill and to be killed.”
Turkish newspapers confirmed at that time that three of the four Turks killed during the raid were ‘ready for martyrdom.’
The Istanbul-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a group linked to Islamic terrorist groups, organized the so-called Gaza flotilla.
In 2014, Turkish police raided the IHH offices on charges of arming Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria.
“Israel, world’s most moral army,” the former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan Richard Kemp.
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