ICC Urged to Reconsider Flotilla Probe

Lawyers representing the Comoros ask ICC to reconsider a decision not to probe Israel's 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara.

Elad Benari ,

The Mavi Marmara
The Mavi Marmara

Lawyers representing the Comoros on Thursday asked International Criminal Court (ICC) judges to order the court’s chief prosecutor to reconsider her decision not to probe Israel's 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, reports AFP.

The Comoros, which has referred the case to the ICC, "asks the Chamber to request the Prosecutor to reconsider her decision not to open an investigation," its lawyers said in papers filed before the Hague-based court.

Nine Turkish activists died after Israeli commandos staged a botched pre-dawn raid on the six-ship flotilla in May 2010.

One of the ships in the flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be providing "humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza," defied orders to turn around and dock at the Ashdod port. After it ignored repeated warnings to change course, the IDF boarded the vessel - only to be attacked by Islamist extremists on board.

The soldiers had no choice but to open fire, resulting in the deaths of nine on board.

After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid - in fact, no aid supplies at all - whatsoever. 

The Marmara is registered in the tiny Indian Ocean island country, which has been a state party to the ICC since 2006.

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in November there would be no investigation leading to a prosecution, despite a "reasonable basis" to believe that war crimes were committed.

Bensouda said any potential cases arising from an investigation into the incident would not be of "sufficient gravity" to justify further ICC action.

The Comoros' lawyers said, however, that "those on the flotilla are all entitled to the ICC's condemnation of impunity and to its sanctioning of individuals who might have hoped to enjoy impunity."

Bensouda failed to "take relevant matters" into consideration, including the broader context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the lawyers said, according to AFP.

"She should thus reconsider her decision," they concluded.

The United Nations’ 105-page Palmer Report has already concluded that Israel's naval blockade of Hamas in Gaza is both reasonable and legal, and that the passengers on the boat had lain in wait for the commandos.

An Israeli panel, the Turkel Commission, also concluded that the IDF acted in self-defense against the terrorists on the Mavi Marmara.