The International Criminal Court said that it would not prosecute Israel over its raid of Gaza-bound ships in 2010, during which ten Turkish activists died, despite a “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed”.
According to Chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, there won’t be an investigation or a prosecution because the alleged crimes were not of “sufficient gravity”.
“The information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed on board the Comorian-registered vessel the Mavi Marmara during the interception of the flotilla. However, after carefully assessing all relevant considerations, I have concluded that the potential case(s) likely arising from an investigation into this incident would not be of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify further action by the ICC”, Bensouda said.
Nine Turkish activists had died when Israeli commandos raided a six-ship flotilla looking to break through Israel’s blockade of Gaza on May 31st, 2010. Another activist died later, succumbing to his wounds.
“Taking into account the serious nature of the physical injuries caused by the IDF’s use of force against some affected passengers, and even bearing in mind self-defense… the information available provides for a reasonable basis to believe that the IDF soldiers committed (a) war crime”, she added, referring to the Israeli military.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has acknowledged Bensouda’s decision, but expressed its regret that the ICC’s time has been wasted by looking into a “politically-motivated” complaint.
“Israel believes that it was pointless to initiate a preliminary inquiry in the first place, and regrets that the resources and precious time of the court — an institution established to combat the world’s worst atrocities — were allocated to an unfounded and politically-motivated legal complaint”, a foreign ministry statement read.
It also pointed out that the incident has already been “thoroughly examined in detail” by an Israeli and an UN-established committee, both of which “determined that the IDF soldiers were forced to respond with force to protect their lives from lethal, pre-planned and organized violence”.