Lawyers seek review of ICC refusal to probe Gaza flotilla
Jan. 29, 2015
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Lawyers called Thursday for a review of the International Criminal Court prosecutor's decision not to investigate the storming by Israel of an aid flotilla that was heading to Gaza.
A team of lawyers representing the government of Comoros filed a request for the court to order Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to reconsider her refusal to launch a probe into the May 31, 2010, storming of one of the vessels in the flotilla, which was sailing under a Comoros flag.
Bensouda said in November last year that there was a "reasonable basis to believe that war crimes" were committed on the Mavi Marmara, where eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed and several other pro-Palestinian activists were wounded by Israeli commandos, but that the case wasn't "of sufficient gravity" to merit an ICC case.
In a written filing, the lawyers wrote that, "the interests of justice and fairness, which are the core of the ICC's mandate, strongly militate in favor of the Prosecutor reconsidering her decision."
Israel, which isn't a member of the court, dismissed the move as a waste of time.
"The prosecutor already decided that the events surrounding the Mavi Marmara do not need to be looked into. As far as we are concerned this affair is over," said Emmanuel Nahshon, a spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry.
Thursday's submission came two weeks after Bensouda announced she would carry out a preliminary probe into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories since last summer, a move that followed the Palestinian Authority's decision to join the court.
The storming of the aid flotilla predates the Palestinians' recognition of the court, but lawyer Sir Geoffrey Nice said the prosecutor should see the bigger picture.
"It's now very difficult for the prosecutor to pretend that all these things are flowing in separate channels," Nice said in a telephone interview. "They're all part of the same rather large stream that has been the subject of great troubles ... for decades and she now has an opportunity to get the court to look at from a judicial point of view."
Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem contributed to this report.