NUJ calls for International Criminal Court investigation amid rising journalists deaths in Gaza

  • 19 Jan 2024

The union’s National Executive Council motion urges the release of all hostages, a mutual cessation of violence and a permanent ceasefire.

This National Executive notes with horror the ongoing atrocities in Gaza (the Gaza Israel War) and particularly the consistent attacks on civilians.

The NEC is alarmed at the death toll among journalists in Gaza over the past three months and demands that all hostages should be immediately released with a mutual cessation of violence and a permanent ceasefire declared.

According to the International Federation of Journalists, nearly 100 journalists have lost their lives in as many days, a mortality rate among media workers far in excess of that suffered by combat soldiers in most wars.  Israeli and Egyptian authorities have assiduously operated to exclude international reporters from Gaza.

This NEC records its appreciation for Gaza’s journalists who have worked as the eyes and ears of the world, despite suffering extraordinary personal privations, loss of their homes and personal bereavement and applauds the work of the small number of international media workers who have been camping out at the Rafah crossing for weeks.

This NEC notes that given the scale of loss among journalists, an immediate investigation by the International Criminal Court is vital. The Israeli Defence Forces have access to highly sophisticated surveillance equipment, such as Pegasus, and AI-assisted targeting technology, such as Gospel. These allow individuals to be identified, and minutely targeted as never before – but they also record their actions in a way that has the potential to create an unprecedented digital evidence to support claims of targeting. An immediate investigation by the ICC into the alleged systematic targeting of journalists by the IDF is vital.

This NEC notes that since the outset of the conflict, the International Federation of Journalists has channelled aid through our sister union, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. This aid has, among other things, provided battery packs that has allowed journalists to continue working and blast-trauma kits that have saved the lives of journalists who have received bullet wounds. The NEC further notes and applauds the extraordinary level of support provided by NUJ branches and individuals.

This NEC calls on the general secretary to: 

  • writes to the ICC’s chief prosecutor to insist that he investigates journalists’ deaths, and to support further complaints raised with the ICC by the IFJ and PJS
  • use NUJ communication channels to draw broad attention to this motion
  • make representations to the Media Freedom Coalition and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe to encourage them to intervene, or to strengthen their interventions
  • send a message of support to PJS leadership and to seek its guidance on future support actions, consider supporting collective solidarity actions that might include establishing an international newsroom in Gaza, and organising a minutes silence in newsrooms worldwide

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