Shireen Abu Akleh’s family appeals to the International Criminal Court
Family files a formal complaint against Israel. For its legal team, the goal is to end “Israel’s impunity”. For the victim’s brother Anton, shooting at journalists means “intentionally trying to kill them”. Even though the victim was a US citizen, the US and President Biden have been indifferent to the case.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – The family of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian journalist killed on 11 May by a bullet fired by an Israeli soldier during a military operation in Jenin, West Bank, is ready to seek justice and punishment for those responsible.
To this end, it has filed a formal complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.
Known as the “Voice of Palestine”, the journalist, a 25-year veteran with Al Jazeera and other media, died from a gunshot to the head while reporting on an operation by the Israeli military.
As required for journalists in a war zone, she was wearing a flak jacket and a helmet that clearly identified her as a member of the press.
Her colleague Ali al-Samoudi was also wounded in the incident. Since then he has recovered.
Yesterday Shireen’s brother Anton Abu Akleh spoke to the court in The Hague, saying that the family is willing to do whatever is necessary for her killer to be prosecuted.
“Like we said before, and like other reports said previously, there were more than 16 shots fired towards Shireen and the media and her colleagues,” he said. “They even targeted the person who was trying to pull her into safety after she was shot down.”
He rejects the argument of error or unfortunate accident because his sister was clearly recognisable with her press gear.
She was unarmed and did not pose any danger or threat to the soldiers who deliberately fired from an armoured vehicle. “Any person shooting at the press is intentionally trying to kill them,” Anton Abu Akleh said.
In 2021, the ICC decided that it had jurisdiction over violence and war crimes that occur in the occupied Palestinian territories.
This provides some hope that some cases, like Shireen's, will be investigated and those responsible brought to justice,
The family’s complaint is supported by the Palestinian Press Syndicate and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
Shireen Abu Akleh was also a US citizen, but so far US authorities and President Joe Biden have ignored the family's pleas for help.
On two occasions the president snubbed the requests for a meeting, while the US administration refused to support a request for an independent investigation.
For Anton Abu Akleh, “There is no mystery regarding what happened to Shireen except for the actual name and identity of her killer.”
Earlier this month, Israeli authorities spoke of a "high possibility" that its forces had killed the journalist, but also ruled out a criminal investigation.
For the family’s lawyer, hope lies with the ICC to “end Israel's impunity”.