Al Jazeera seeks ICC probe over killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
Al Jazeera, the news outlet that employed slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, has submitted a request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute those responsible for her killing.
Abu Akleh — a television correspondent with Al Jazeera for 25 years — was killed in May while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank.
In September the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) concluded that Abu Akleh was likely "accidentally" hit by Israeli gunfire aimed at Palestinian gunmen but said it was not possible to "unequivocally" determine the source. They did not open prosecutions and closed the case.
But independent analyses of the situation by the U.N. and several media outlets confirmed Abu Akleh was not near Palestinian gunmen and Israeli forces were almost certainly responsible.
On Tuesday Al Jazeera said it had video evidence that showed Abu Akleh and other journalists — who were wearing protective uniforms identifying themselves as members of the press — were walking down a road when they were fired on by Israeli forces.
“The claim by the Israeli authorities that Shireen was killed by mistake in an exchange of fire is completely unfounded,” Al Jazeera said, adding that Abu Akleh was shot in the head as she tried to hide behind a tree.
The formal request at The Hague comes after Abu Akleh’s family submitted their own complaint to the ICC in September over her death.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice said they were opening an investigation into Abu Akleh's death, something Israel rejected as a “grave mistake.”
Israel’s outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid criticized Al Jazeera’s decision to approach the ICC.
“No one will investigate IDF soldiers, and no one will preach to us about morals in warfare, certainly not Al Jazeera,” Lapid said.
Benny Gantz, Israel’s defense minister, said he regrets “the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, but we need to remember that this was a clear incident of combat that was probed in the most rigorous and in-depth manner.”