Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor at the Int’l Criminal Court stands by her previous decision, and declines newest motion, this time by the island-nation of Comoros, to investigate the 2010 IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara, whose aim was to breach Israel’s legal blockage on Gaza, a recognized Palestinian terrorist enclave.
• Bensouda: Case not serious enough to merit ICC probe.
By The Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff
International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Thursday she is standing by her previous decision not to open a full-scale investigation into a raid by Israeli naval commandos on a flotilla that in 2010 attempted to breach the maritime blockade Israel has placed on the Gaza Strip.
The blockade was imposed in the summer of 2007 after the Hamas terrorist group seized control of the coastal enclave in a military coup against the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. The measure was deemed necessary to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza.
November 2014, Bensouda declined a request by the Indian Ocean island nation of Comoros to investigate the May 31, 2010 raid of a vessel in the flotilla, sailing under a Comoros flag.
She said war crimes may have been committed on the Mavi Marmara ship, where eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed and several other pro-Palestinian activists were wounded by Israeli commandos, but the case was not serious enough to merit an ICC probe.
The ICC was set up as a court of last resort intended to prosecute senior leaders allegedly responsible for grave crimes including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity when national courts prove unable or unwilling to take on such cases.
ICC judges told her to reconsider, but Bensouda said Thursday that after carefully reviewing more than 5,000 pages of documents and statements from more than 300 passengers on the Mavi Marmara she has reaffirmed her decision to close her preliminary investigation.
Bensouda said in a statement that her decision was a purely legal one, applying standards laid down in the court’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute.
“I want to be clear, however, that I fully recognize the impact of the alleged crimes on the victims and their families and my conclusion does not excuse any crimes which may have been perpetrated in connection with the Mavi Marmara incident,” she said.
Israeli officials were reviewing the decision and had no immediate comment.
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