Al Jazeera submits Shireen Abu Akleh killing to ICC for investigation

Al Jazeera submits Shireen Abu Akleh killing to ICC for investigation
Several international investigations have indicated that the veteran Palestinian reporter was killed intentionally by Israeli gunfire.
2 min read
06 December, 2022
Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead by Israeli forces [Getty]

Al Jazeera submitted the case of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday, after 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 11 May.

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.

"We are hopeful that this submission will lead to an investigation by the ICC," Lina Abu Akleh told the New Arab at a press conference in the Hague after the submission was made.

"This process must lead to accountability, and prevent further crimes like this committed against journalists."

Given the court's questionable record on pursuing crimes against Palestinians, expectations among some rights organisations are low.

The ICC, last year, launched a probe into war crimes in the Palestinian territories, but Israel is not a member of the body and disputes the court's jurisdiction.

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Israel said it would not cooperate with any external probe into Abu Akleh's death.

"No one will investigate IDF 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 5 September that one of its soldiers had likely shot Abu Akleh after supposedly mistaking her for a militant.

Several investigations, including one by Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and Forensic Architecture, have concluded that Akleh was "targeted" by an Israeli sniper.

The veteran reporter 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.