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Thursday, February 2, 2023
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Al Jazeera takes journalist’s ‘brutal’ killing to ICC

Any person or group can file a complaint to the ICC prosecutor for investigation, but the Hague-based court is not obliged to take them on.

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Al Jazeera submitted the case of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court on Tuesday, saying the veteran reporter was deliberately killed by Israeli forces.

The Qatar-based television channel said it had unearthed new evidence on the “brutal” death of the Palestinian-American, shot while covering an Israel army raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank on May 11.

Read more: Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing: Al Jazeera moves to the International Criminal Court

Any person or group can file a complaint to the ICC prosecutor for investigation, but the Hague-based court is not obliged to take them on.

“My family still doesn’t know who fired that deadly bullet and who was in the chain of command that killed my aunt,” her niece Lina Abu Akleh told a press conference in The Hague.

“The evidence is overwhelmingly clear, we expect the ICC to take action,” she said, adding that they had asked for a meeting with prosecutor Karim Khan.

An AFP journalist saw a lawyer representing Al Jazeera’s case entering the ICC’s headquarters to hand over their submission.

The ICC, which was set up in 2002 as a war crimes court of last resort, last year launched a probe in the Palestinian territories.

But Israel is not an ICC member and disputes the court’s jurisdiction.

Israel said it would not cooperate with any external probe into Abu Akleh’s death.

“No one will investigate IDF (Israeli military) soldiers and no one will preach to us about morals in warfare, certainly not Al Jazeera,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement.

The ICC prosecutor’s office confirmed that it “has received the communication from Al Jazeera Media Network” but that it did not comment on individual submissions.

“Any individual or group may send information on alleged crimes to the ICC Prosecutor, who is duty bound to protect the confidentiality of the information received,” his office said in a statement to AFP.

Read more: Bangladesh’s court orders Al Jazeera documentary be removed from internet

The United States, which is not a party to the ICC, said it is opposed to Al Jazeera taking the case to this court, renewing objections to investigations involving Israel.

“The ICC should focus on its core mission, and that core mission is of serving as a court of last resort in punishing and deterring atrocity crimes,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.