DUBAI: TV network Al Jazeera submitted the case of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court on Tuesday, saying she was killed by Israeli forces.
The Qatar-based channel said it had “unearthed new evidence” on the death of the Palestinian-American, shot while covering an Israel army raid in Jenin on May 11.
Any person or group can file a complaint to the ICC prosecutor for investigation, but the Hague-based court is under no obligation to take on such cases.
Al Jazeera said its submission highlighted “new witness evidence and video footage (that) clearly show that Shireen and her colleagues were directly fired at by the Israeli Occupation Forces.”
“The claim by the Israeli authorities that Shireen was killed by mistake in an exchange of fire is completely unfounded,” the channel said.
An AFP journalist saw a lawyer representing Al Jazeera’s case entering the ICC’s headquarters to hand over their submission.
The ICC last year launched a probe into war crimes in the Palestinian territories, but Israel is not an ICC member and disputes the court’s jurisdiction.
Israel said it would not cooperate with any external probe into Abu Akleh’s death.
“No one will investigate IDF (Israeli military) soldiers and no one will preach to us about morals in warfare, certainly not Al Jazeera,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement.
The Israeli army conceded on September 5 that one of its soldiers had likely shot Abu Akleh after mistaking her for a militant.
The veteran reporter, who was a Christian, was wearing a bulletproof vest marked “Press” and a helmet when she was shot in the head in the Jenin refugee camp, a historic flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
After receiving complaints from individuals or groups, the ICC prosecutor decides independently what cases to submit to judges at the court.
Judges decide whether to allow a preliminary investigation by the prosecutor, which can then be followed by a formal investigation, and if warranted, charges.
In the majority of cases such complaints do not lead to investigations, according to the ICC.
A documentary aired last week by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera included video evidence purportedly showing that at least one Israeli soldier intentionally targeted a group of reporters that included Abu Akleh during clashes in the West Bank in May.
The 38-minute-long documentary — titled “The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh” — was screened last Thursday as an episode of the docuseries Fault Lines, which has aired on the Al Jazeera English TV channel since 2009.
The documentary included witness accounts and video footage that it said proved Abu Akleh and other journalists were clearly targeted and that she as not a victim of errant fire during a gun battle between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen, as the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has claimed.
The documentary included witness accounts and video footage that it said proved Abu Akleh and other journalists were clearly targeted and that she as not a victim of errant fire during a gun battle between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen, as the Israel Defense Forces has claimed.
The 51-year-old Al Jazeera journalist, who was wearing a vest marked “Press” and a helmet, was killed during clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen while covering an Israeli military operation in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank on May 11, amid a wider terror crackdown, according to the official account provided by the IDF.
The footage in the documentary appears to show that there was no gun battle at the specific site at the time, but only Israeli troops firing toward the group of Palestinian journalists that included Abu Akleh. The claim was supported by testimonies of witnesses and colleagues of Abu Akleh who were there when she was shot.