The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) and International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) have been asked by the family of Palestinian-American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, and by journalist Ali Samoudi, to submit a new complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) about the circumstances surrounding Ms Abu Akleh’s death and Mr Samoudi’s shooting on 11 May 2022. Bindmans LLP has been instructed to submit this complaint, and represent the victims at the ICC.
A long-time TV correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic, Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while covering Israeli army raids in the city of Jenin. Ali Samoudi, who was present when Shireen Abu Akleh was killed was also shot in the shoulder. Ali Samoudi is able to provide crucial witness testimony with regards to his own shooting and the death of Shireen Abu Akleh. There are strong grounds to believe that Shireen Abu Akleh was killed, and Ali Samoudi was shot, by Israeli armed forces. Both join a long list of journalists targeted by the Israeli armed forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The new complaint follows the April 2022 submission to the court which requested that the ICC Prosecutor launch an investigation into the systematic targeting, maiming and killing of journalists, and destruction of media infrastructure in Palestine. Shireen Abu Akleh was killed only days after the ICC prosecutor acknowledged receipt of the first complaint.
On 5 February 2021, the International Criminal Court ruled that its criminal jurisdiction extended to ‘the Situation in Palestine,’ and that its territorial scope covered allegations that occurred in ‘Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem’. This presents for the first time, a real opportunity for the accountability of Israel’s alleged policy of targeting journalists and could lead to a formal investigation by the ICC Prosecutor, and potential prosecutions.
The group’s April 2022 complaint details the systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists on behalf of four named victims – Ahmed Abu Hussein, Yaser Murtaja, Muath Amarneh and Nedal Eshtayeh – who were also killed or maimed by Israeli snipers while covering demonstrations in Gaza. All were wearing clearly marked PRESS vests at the time they were shot. The complaint also details the targeting of media infrastructure including the bombing of the Al-Shorouk and Al-Jawhara Towers in Gaza City in May 2021.