Al Jazeera to refer journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing to ICC

The network assigns a legal team to refer the killing of its journalist, and the Israeli bombing of its Gaza office, to the International Criminal Court.

In this undated photo Shireen Abu Akleh stands behind a TV camera above the Old City of Jerusalem
Shireen Abu Akleh stands next to a TV camera above the Old City of Jerusalem in this undated photo [File photo: Al Jazeera Media Network via AP]

Al Jazeera Media Network has assigned a legal team to refer the killing of its journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

The network said in a statement on Thursday that it has formed an international coalition that consists of its legal team along with international experts, and is preparing a dossier on the murder of Abu Akleh for submission to the ICC prosecutor.

In addition to the killing of Abu Akleh, who was shot dead by Israel forces on May 11 near the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, the ICC submission will also include the Israeli bombing “and total destruction” of Al Jazeera’s office in Gaza in May 2021, and “the continuous incitements and attacks” on Al Jazeera journalists working in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Al Jazeera network statement said the killing or physical assault on journalists working in war zones or occupied territories is a war crime under Article 8 of the International Criminal Court’s charter.

“Al Jazeera Media Network condemns the killing of our colleague Shireen Abu Akleh, who worked with the Network for 25 years as a professional journalist covering the ongoing conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the network said in a statement.

“The Network vows to follow every path to achieve justice for Shireen, and ensure those responsible for her killing are brought to justice and held accountable in all international justice and legal platforms and courts.”

Palestinians visit the site where Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed, in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on May 18, 2022 [Majdi Mohammed/AP]
On May 18, Palestinians visit the site where Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin [Majdi Mohammed/AP]

Earlier on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority announced the results of an investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American Abu Akleh that showed Israeli forces deliberately shot and killed the veteran reporter.

Speaking to reporters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian Attorney General Akram al-Khatib said that Abu Akleh, 51, was hit with an armour-piercing bullet.

The journalist was wearing a helmet and a vest that was clearly marked with the word “PRESS”, the attorney general said, and Israeli “occupation forces … had fired a bullet that hit journalist Shireen Abu Akleh directly in her head” while she was attempting to escape.

Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s ambassador to the United Nations, told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday that the killing of Abu Akleh was “not a mistake”.

“Shireen’s killing is the story, the same story she was telling. The difference is that this time the world knew the victim,” Mansour said.

“We are not being killed because of what we do, but because of who we are. We are not being killed by mistake, but as part of a grand design to make sure we all understand no one is safe so that we all live with fear in our hearts and surrender,” he said.

“If you are a Palestinian, you are a legitimate target.”

Source: Al Jazeera