New complaint submitted to ICC following killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

  • 20 Sep 2022

A complaint to the International Criminal Court has been submitted over the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh and injured journalist Ali Samoudi.

At a press conference held by the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) at the Hague on 20 September, Jim Boumelha, treasurer and former president of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and representatives from Doughty Street Chambers, Bindmans LLP and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate were joined by Abu Akhleh’s brother, Anton Abu Akleh to outline developments.

A statement and video from researchers conducting a forensic investigation into Abu Akleh’s murder revealed previously unseen footage and outlined how a precise forensic reconstruction was conducted as part of analysis. Researchers were able to reconstruct the location of Israeli forces and identify the vehicle from which Shireen was shot from. Their analysis concluded Abu Akleh was deliberately and repeatedly targeted, and that the press vests of journalists would have been clearly visible by the marksman from the Israeli forces.

In May, esteemed journalist Shireen Abu-Akhleh was killed by Israeli forces despite wearing a clearly marked press vest. Samoudi was also targeted by forces in action the National Union of Journalists has repeatedly condemned.

Speaking on behalf of his family, Akleh said "Shireen was a proud Palestinian killed in cold blood by an Israeli soldier". He called for an investigation by the United States and for the ICC to begin the process for holding her killers accountable.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“Impunity in Israel is under the spotlight yet again as the world witnesses its continued targeting of journalists in Palestine.

“Both Shireen and Ali were clearly identifiable as press but targeted deliberately, for their roles as journalists. The senseless actions by Israeli forces against those who reveal truth through their reporting must end, with perpetrators held to account.”

Tayab Ali, director of the ICJP and partner at Bindmans LLP, said: 

“The victims in our complaints, including Shireen Abu Akleh’s family, have entrusted us to bring what happened to them to the attention of the International Criminal Court. 

Despite the vast amount of evidence pointing to the unlawful killing of Shireen at the hands of an Israeli soldier, she continues to be denied the basic right of a proper independent investigation and for anyone to be held accountable for her killing. 

A free press is the cornerstone of a democracy. Journalists are crucial in holding governments that violate international law to account. Israel’s systematic targeting of journalists cannot be allowed to continue. 

We call on the OTP to meet with the victims and investigate the crimes alleged in our complaints. There cannot be a more important time than now for the ICC and international community to send a clear signal to Israel that it cannot continue to act with impunity."

Jim Boumelha, IFJ Treasurer and former President speaking at the press conference.


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