Al Jazeera Will Take Israel to International Criminal Court over Journalist’s Death

·2 min read

Al Jazeera announced on Thursday that it will take Israel to the International Criminal Court over the alleged killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist for the network who died during a raid by Israeli Defense Forces on a Hamas compound on May 11.

The announcement came after the Palestinian Authority’s Attorney General, Akram Al-Khateeb, announced that Israeli forces had deliberately “killed” Akleh during the incident in Jenin (a city in the Northern West Bank), which she and two other reporters were covering. He said that she had been shot by a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle, whose armor-piercing bullet struck her in the back of the head. Akleh was allegedly wearing a ballistic helmet and blue armor-plate carrier vest with the words “PRESS” emblazoned on them in reflective lettering.

“It was proven that a member of the Israeli occupation forces stationed in the middle of the street fired a live bullet that hit the martyr journalist,” said Khateeb in a press conference. He added that she was shot, “while she was trying to escape from the successive gunshots fired by the occupation soldiers.” Another Al Jazeera reporter had been shot during the incident, but survived.

Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz called the claim a “blatant lie” in response to Akram, while adding that Israel was conducting its own investigation into the incident, with which the Palestinian Authority has refused to cooperate. The Authority had previously said that only Qatar, which owns the Al Jazeera Media Network, and the U.S., of which Akleh was a citizen, would be allowed to participate in the investigation. However, per reporting by the New York Times, the U.S. has not yet been granted access to ballistic evidence in the case.

In a press release, Al Jazeera said that it had formed a working group of international lawyers and experts, who will prepare a dossier to submit to the ICC’s Prosecutor, British lawyer Karim Khan. The dossier would also cover the bombing of the Al-Jabaa building, which housed Al Jazeera’s offices, on May 15, 2021, which the network claims was recklessly carried out by the IDF.

The move is part of a series of attempts to prosecute Israel at the Court, whose Prosecutor is already conducting a “war crimes” investigation into activities by the IDF. Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s constituting treaty, which would bind it to the court’s jurisdiction, and has argued that Palestine’s lack of statehood precludes it from moving the court to consider this case. It has stated that it will “not cooperate” with the court’s investigations.

More from National Review