Lawyers will add Abu Akleh to Palestinian journalists’ ICC case

ICC case highlights Israeli attacks on journalists and the bombing of Al Jazeera’s offices in Gaza last May.

Lawyers working on the case filed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the targeting of Palestinian journalists by Israel have said they will add the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the complaint.

The announcement made at a press conference in London on Friday came in the aftermath of a decision by both the Palestinian Authority and Al Jazeera Media Network to submit separate cases to the ICC over the killing of Abu Akleh on May 11 by Israeli forces.

The inclusion of Abu Akleh in the case came after a request from her family.

Lawyers from Doughty Street Chambers, representatives from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) were all present at the event.

Also speaking at the press conference, Walid al-Omari, Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau chief, said that the media network was “exploring all legal possibilities” to bring justice for Abu Akleh.

Abu Akleh, 51, was shot dead by Israeli forces while she was covering an Israeli military raid in Jenin city. Meanwhile, Ali al-Samoudi, also an Al Jazeera journalist, was wounded by a bullet to the back at the scene.

“We are awaiting confirmation from the ICC’s Prosecutor’s Office about the action they intend to take, but the killing of Shireen and the shooting of Ali al-Samoudi bring to sharp focus the need for urgent action by the ICC. We will seek to add these cases to the complaint that is already before the ICC,” Bindmans LLP, the firm hosting the event, said before the press conference.

 

“A free press is the cornerstone of a democracy,” Tayeb Ali, the solicitor in the case said. “The targeting of journalists in conflict zones anywhere in the world is unacceptable and must bring severe consequences for those that try to hide their crimes and violations by killing or maiming journalists.”

Al Jazeera Media Network announced on Thursday that it had assigned a legal team to refer the killing of its journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the ICC.

The network said that it had formed an international coalition that consists of its legal team, along with international experts, and is preparing a dossier on the killing of Abu Akleh for submission to the ICC prosecutor.

“The Network vows to follow every path to achieve justice for Shireen, and ensure those responsible for her killing are brought to justice and held accountable in all international justice and legal platforms and courts,” the statement said.

Separately on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority announced the results of an investigation into the killing of Palestinian American Abu Akleh that it said showed Israeli forces deliberately shot and killed the veteran reporter.

Palestinian Attorney General Akram al-Khatib said that Abu Akleh was hit with an armour-piercing bullet.

Abu Akleh’s death led to worldwide outrage with multiple countries demanding a transparent and prompt investigation into her killing.

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